For some, those of us who have heard of Babe Ruth, watched Johnny Bench or dreamed of being Mike Trout, it’s the final major decision in the transition from childhood to adulthood.
And that decision is when to give up baseball.
Take Bishop England baseball standout Colby Searson, for example. The senior’s goal this spring was to help lead the Bishops to their fourth straight state championship. After that, he would hang up his cleats and matriculate to The Citadel.
Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Schools closed and sports seasons were cancelled.
And dreams changed.
Now, Searson will attend Lander University in Greenwood and play Division 1 baseball.
“My dad said never give up and never take a day for granted because you never know when it’s over,” said Searson, an outfielder and pitcher for coach Mike Darnell’s squad. “At first, you heard that (the coronavirus) started to cross the country, and then it was here. At first you thought, ‘Maybe two weeks.’ Then it was, ‘We will play
region games only.’ And then it’s April, and you know the season is pretty much over. You hate it, but there’s nothing you can do.”
Then, Searson got a phone call that will change at least the next four years of his life.
“I got a call from Lander coach (Jason) Burke. He wanted me to play baseball at Lander,” Searson said. “That phone call made me realize life is short, and that I should continue to play a game I love. There’s that moment you realize the fun is over, and it’s time to go to college. But that was put on hold when coach Burke called.
That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to continue to play because my senior year was wiped out.”
Searson played basketball and baseball entering his freshman year, but focused on the latter because of Darnell’s demanding schedule that encouraged a strong commitment to the weight room, including the offseason, and running a mile in under six minutes to begin a three-hour practice on Saturday mornings.
“Bishop England is demanding,” Searson said. “Academics come first, and you have to use your time wisely. I didn’t want to play two sports and have my academics suffer.”
So he gave up basketball.
After that, it was a sport he watched on his best behavior when he was on campus. His mom, Karen, is an assistant coach on Paul Runey’s staff, and his dad — the man who gave the sage advice — Chip, is a Charleston Police captain who works security at BE home football and basketball games.
“He’s always watching me,” Searson said with a laugh. “I know I can’t act stupid or anything like that. It’s the same way with my mom.”
With a 3.5 GPA, Searson is also a member of the Bishop England Band of Buddies, a group of social mentors who help create an opportunity for students enrolled in the Options Program to enjoy a typical high school experience.
“That’s a great time,” Searson said. “That’s what it’s all about.”