By TAYLOR SCHWEITZER
He stood at the plate, wiped the sweat from his brow and moved his bat up to his shoulder. In seconds, he saw his dreams come true.
Nick Zarzycki, 19, from Kitchener, has had a passion for baseball from a young age. He started playing T-ball at about the age of four. This led to a scholarship for baseball in 2014 at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind. Zarzycki is a 6-foot-3 right fielder and first baseman who had four home runs last summer playing for the Ontario Nationals and Kitchener Panthers.
“I got serious about playing when I got to my midget year,” said Zarzycki. “At 14 or 15, I joined the elite travel team and that’s when I thought I would have a chance of playing in college.”
As Zarzycki began to chase his dreams, he focused all of his attention on the sport. The countless hours and effort that he puts into baseball takes up most of his social life.
“It definitely is tough. I mean, when you try and keep a social life on top of school work, that can be a challenge in itself,” he said. “When it comes down to sports, homework and trying to maintain a social life, that’s just another story.”
Although friends and family cheer him on and support him, they can find it difficult too. One family member, in particular, feels the separation kick in at times.
“One of the toughest things I ever did was say goodbye to Nick,” said Karen Abbott-Zarzycki, Nick’s mother. “I cried for days. At times, I still do. I pray for his safety and success about twice a day because he has worked so hard for this. I am so very happy for him.”
With dreams, they can become reality. Zarzycki’s ultimate dream is to make a career of playing baseball in the United States, hopefully in the major leagues. If that doesn’t pan out, he hopes to work in the baseball industry. Zarzycki is a firm believer that if you never give up on your dreams, they will come true.
“My advice to anyone pursuing a dream is to never give up because there’s going to be failures,” Zarzycki said. “There will be setbacks because you will never be able to do something right the first time, but don’t let that get in the way of your dreams.”