Recently there has been a lot of confusion and drama in the MyGameBalls community about the authenticity of people’s statistics. Here is a little something I threw together that sums up my feelings about honesty and ballhawking. It is important to note that this does not in any way reference anyone in specific. This in no way is intended to be directed at anyone, simply to try and prevent any future issues with authenticity. If you’re thinking about exaggerating your statistics…
Us ballhawks of MyGameBalls are rather simple people. In order to even join a website like MyGB, you’ve got to be rather invested in the hobby. Thousands of people roam the bleachers in hopes of catching a ball, but only a small, small fraction of a percentage of those people take the hobby seriously enough to join a community like MyGB, further illustrating how we feel about both the sport and ballhawking general. Members of MyGameBalls are the “one percent” of the baseball community, we are the top of the line. We take this hobby and the website very, very seriously.
Ballhawking is not a sport. Ballhawking is not a job. Ballhawking is only and will always be only a hobby. There are no “professional” ballhawks. Those of us who choose to compare and share statistics spend hundreds of thousands of dollars as a whole, and often times tens of thousands of dollars as singular members, to buy tickets, travel and lodging just to partake in a hobby. There is nothing to gain from ballhawking but a sense of self-earned accomplishment.
Does the money, time, effort equate with catching a few baseballs? Not all the time. We sacrifice a ridiculous amount of money, time, effort and heart to show people what we have EARNED and compare it with other people who have also EARNED their fair share. While you may think that since there is a “leaderboard” on the website that ballhawking is a competition, it isn’t. The website is a tool to compare collections, not to beat your chest and say “aha! I am better than you all!” Keep that in mind.
Over the past ten years of ballhawking, I’ve amassed one of the most impressive collections on the planet. 30 *game home runs* and close to 2,500 baseballs later, I look back and consider how I got to this point. If you want to talk money, we’re looking at easily $100,000 to $200,000 in travel, lodging, tickets and various expenses, and that isn’t even considering the value of the time taken. This hobby has claimed numerous friendships and intimate relationships from my life. I’ve lost friends, girlfriends and missed family events because of how much I love this hobby and the feeling of self-accomplishment it gives me. Consider that. All that money, time, effort, friendships and relationships squandered because of how much I value the self-accomplished feeling and adrenaline rush ballhawking provides. Is that my fault? Probably. But I think this hobby is worth it.
What does that matter? Why does it matter at all? The value of a ballhawking resume hinges SOLEY AND COMPLETELY ON THE TRUST AND CREDIBILITY OF EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY. Lying about your statistics and baseballs you’ve caught completely destroys everyone’s investment of time, effort and heart. It completely eviscerates it.
Since people began exaggerating statistics, I have to begin worrying about people calling “shenanigans” on my games and statistics. I see someone post a great game and I have to think to myself “maybe he didn’t really grab those baseballs” and it sucks, it really, really sucks being stuck in that predicament. This gives me a headache.
Now I don’t know how old any of you are or anything about your character, and I’m not claiming to. I’m not passing judgment and I’m not condemning anyone to banishment. I’m not that guy. Part of my strong Christian faith leads me to understand that people make mistakes. Co-axially, people deserve second chances.
I encourage you to get into the bleachers and ballhawk as much as you can. Do everything you can to get out there and start/continute your own collection. However, tread lightly. If you’re going to say you caught 9 baseballs, you’d better have a picture of those 9 baseballs. Something I try and do to help people trust my statistics: I’ll include the day’s ticket (with date and game time) in any pictures of baseballs I take.
Go out, have fun and earn your collection. Balhawking returns increase with effort. As with anything in life, you get out what you put in. The cheap becomes expensive. It will take you a while to learn the ropes, but I have confidence with time and interaction with the welcoming community, you’ll do just fine. Being new or lacking in skill is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone has to start somewhere. Know that experience only comes with time. Be proud of what you have, no matter what it is. If you’re ballhawking to be “better” than someone else, you’re ballhawking for all the wrong reasons.
No one hates anyone, no one is angry, no one wants anyone banned for life. We just want honesty. If you’re thinking about fudging your statistics, take a while to move away from MyGameBalls, learn a few things out in the bleachers and ballparks, and come back refreshed with honest, earned statistics. I look forward to seeing what you can do. I have confidence that you’ll learn and bounce back quickly with a nice collection.
If there are any questions you have about anything, need ballhawking tips or just need a buddy to talk to, feel free to reach out to me. The community of MyGameBalls is not only open and welcoming, but we’re also forgiving.
I don’t know if the community agrees with anything I have to say, so I’ll simply sign this as “Ballhawk Shawn” and leave it to them to comment accordingly.