Inspiration behind 'The Rookie' to speak at VC

April 23, 2011 at 10 a.m.
Updated April 22, 2011 at 11:23 p.m.

The inspiration for the Disney movie, "The Rookie," starring Dennis Quaid, will be the fourth and final speaker for the 2010-11 Lyceum Lecture Series.

Jim Morris, like many avid Little League baseball players, dreamed of playing in the major leagues. As a youngster, he distinguished himself as an exceptional baseball player and excelled throughout high school sports, eventually signing to play as a professional.

But after several unsuccessful tries and a number of injuries while playing in the minor leagues, Morris found contentment as a family man and high school baseball coach in a small West Texas town.

Before his coaching tenure, that small West Texas high school team had not been competitive for years. Morris saw a lack of confidence as the team's biggest obstacle and more than anything, he inspired his team to dream big.

The team responded by making him a deal - if they won the district championship, he had to try out for a major league baseball team. His team did indeed win the district championship that year, and Morris kept his end of the bargain.

Despite being older than the typical age for a professional baseball player and in less than tiptop shape, Morris dazzled scouts for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays by throwing 12 consecutive 98-mph fastballs during his tryout. The Devil Rays subsequently offered Morris a contract as a relief pitcher at the age of 35.

Even though he played with the Devil Rays for less than a year, Morris accomplished something most people only dream of. He achieved a life-long ambition. He will share his inspirational story of overcoming failure and how perseverance and heart can help anyone achieve their dreams.

The lecture is free and open to the public.



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