3 Lessons In Perseverance From Edinson Volquez

This year the Kansas City Royals won the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets in a 7-2 final victory.  Royals fans celebrated earlier this week with the World Series parade and rally in downtown Kansas City. It was there that pitcher Edinson Volquez, having just finished his first season with the Royals, stood up and gave a heart-felt speech to the crowd. “This is my first year with the Kansas City Royals,” he said, “and I think I made the right choice.”

Edinson led the Royals to victory in the World Series, but it was not until after the final game that he learned of his father’s passing. He traveled back to his home in the Dominican Republic shortly after, but returned in time thank Royals fans for all of their support and to show his passion in playing for Kansas City. He also spoke of his determination to continue pitching. “I want to pitch again because my dad would have wanted me to pitch,” he told the crowd, but his father’s death is just another in a series of events that has taught Volquez the value and importance of perseverance. Here are three tips on how to persevere and maintain your determination from Edinson Volquez.

1. Practice makes perfect

Edinson Volquez first began playing baseball when he was just a nine-year old in the Dominican Republic. He was there signed as a free agent to the Texas Rangers in 2001 and made his Major League debut in 2005 against the Chicago White Sox. In 2007, Volquez was demoted to the Rangers’ A-league affiliate team to work on his pitch and work his way back into the Majors. Upon his return to MLB shortly thereafter, he drastically improved his ERA and posted a 2-1 record.

Although his performance did improve, Volquez found himself right back in Single-A in 2010, this time playing for the Cincinnati Reds affiliate team, the Dayton Dragons. It was the second time in his career that he was demoted to the minor leagues, even though this was immediately following his elbow surgery and 50-game suspension. Nevertheless, Volquez returned to the Majors that September and went on to play for the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Pittsburgh Pirates before winning the World Series with the Royals in his first year on the team. “At the time, I didn't understand, because if I play in the Big Leagues, why do I have to go all the way back to Single-A?” he later reflected. “It made me better. It made me a better person.”

2. Learn from your mistakes

Edinson Volquez has come a long way from his childhood in the Dominican Republic. He has achieved a level of success that proves that those who truly wish to reach it can still achieve the American Dream. But his journey has not been without his fair share of controversy. Volquez received a 50-game suspension in 2010 for testing positive for an unknown male fertility drug. The drug was not a steroid, but instead works to increase the level of testosterone in the body. Although that isn’t technically illegal, such drugs are affiliated with athletes that do use steroids, and take fertility drugs to compensate for the lower levels of testosterone that is associated with steroid use.

In response to the discovery, Volquez came forward and noted that he and his wife had recently begun consultations to begin a family, and the drugs he was using were simply prescription medications prescribed to him by a doctor in Cincinnati (he was playing for the Reds at the time) and another in the Dominican Republic. Whether or not this is true, the fact remains that Volquez has continued to move forward in his career and not be hung up by a one-time news scandal. “I simply want to accept the consequences, learn from the mistake and continue to strive to be the best person and baseball player I can be,” he said, and he has continued to hold true to that promise ever since.

3. Your family will always support you

Throughout all of his trials and tribulations, no one has supported Volquez more than his loving family. His parents provided him the opportunity to play baseball when he was a young boy living in the Dominican Republic, and they continued to support his career in both the Minor and Major Leagues. The recent death of his father, right in the midst of his first World Series victory, was a difficult loss, but Volquez has found even more determination in hoping to honor his father’s life by continuing to play baseball.

No matter what obstacle or setback seems to come his way, Edinson Volquez has the innate ability to better himself and draw inspiration from what could very well be self-pity. His career has been a long road of twists and turns, steep climbs and hard falls, but through it all he continues to thrive in his love of the sport and the support of his family. We will all experience setbacks along our way to achieving our goals, but if we can find the strength to persevere and attempt to consistently improve our abilities, there is no telling where the road to success might lead us.