Passion doesn’t just come out of nowhere—it’s developed and harnessed from within. In an engaging conversation with some of IMG’s rising, African-American student-athletes, IMG Baseball Coach, Dee Brown, discovered that their passion for the game originally stemmed from their families.
“It all started when I was six years old,” says Elijah Green, “but what really truly got me in the game was my older brother playing baseball in high school.” This gave him a role model and motivated him to work harder by attending baseball camps to improve his game.
Each player also pursued multiple sports as they were growing up, which came with some clear benefits. “I think it’s really important that you can play multi-sport for as long as possible,” says Darnell Parker, Jr., “and leave other sports when you know this is what you want to do.”
These student-athletes also understand that baseball is more than just a game. It demands a certain mentality and helps players build community and culture. During their conversation, Coach Brown learned that his team has big dreams that go beyond playing baseball.
“I’ve always wanted to go into ownership,” says Kerry Herndon-Brown. “I want to get to the highest place and show that you can be the top dog in whatever industry you want to be as a person of color.”
Darnell Parker, Jr. hopes to help and inspire others. “My main goal in life is just do whatever I can do to aid people with anything they need, so that’s really it. It’s deeper than baseball.”
One point Coach Brown makes sure his players understand is that being a student-athlete at IMG is a great opportunity, and only they can decide what to do from here. In this baseball program, his team faces some of the most exciting and challenging competition in the country. Some, if not many, of these opponents could be going pro in the next few years.
Playing at such a high level also demands more from an athlete than just endurance and skill. The pressures of talent scouts and agents can create unwanted anxiety. “I just try to go out there and play my own game,” says Elijah Green, “If I worry about them I won’t play to my best ability.”
Darnell believes that keeping calm also comes down to personal enjoyment of the game. “Having fun is going to bring the best version of you, and that’s what you want.”
Coach Brown and the entire baseball coaching staff understand that the IMG atmosphere isn't for everyone. However, those individuals who maximize the resources provided to them are able to leave a lasting impression while growing and exceling to a level they may not otherwise have reached.
Watch this three-part series to get the full story of IMG’s impressive student-athletes and their mission to excel in sport and in life. To sign up or to learn more about a baseball camp or another youth program, check out the contact forms on our site.