This guest post is by Tyler Marcotte who is 23-years-old from Plymouth Massachusetts. At the age of 9, he was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. Today he is a Group Sales Executive for the Frisco RoughRiders.
Where It Began
I started swinging a baseball bat when I was 3 years old. My parents gave me a red plastic bat for my birthday and I remember swinging peaches in my backyard; that is where my love for baseball began. I started learning more about the game playing baseball and watching Red Sox games with my family. Despite my passion for baseball, I endured a lot as a kid.
It was difficult for me to socially interact with my peers. They talked about things that didn’t interest me. I sat in the front of the bus alone listening to music on my MP3 Player while others sat further back arguing if the Backstreet Boys were better than NSYNC. Before fire alarm drills, I was excused in the middle of class and escorted out the building. At basketball games, I covered my ears whenever the game clock expired since the buzzer was too loud. I always sat in the front of the classroom and usually stayed afterschool for extra help; kids would call me a teacher’s pet. Anytime there was a school dance I stayed home because there were so many people there and I was scared to talk to anyone.
I did very little social interacting when college began. I went to class, ate lunch and dinner at the dining halls alone and returned to my dorm. I made no effort to interact with my peers or dorm mates. After my sophomore year ended, I completed my first internship with a local baseball club and my life changed dramatically.
Not to be Ministered Unto but to Minister
I had the privilege mentoring students with ASD. Many of them experienced what I endured my first two years at college. I made it my mission to not only focus on their academic success, but their social goals as well. Many of them became socially active they not only achieved their goals but also created relationships in and out of the classroom. Before graduating I had two focuses: To jumpstart a career in baseball and inspire those with autism.
From Passion to Career
Many people thought, because of my disability, I’d never leave Massachusetts, live on my own, fly a plane or work in sports. Despite the warnings, I took chances. At the start of 2016 I moved to Texas on my own to start my career in sports. I had no family in the area and about to start working for an organization I knew very little about.
It’s All Worth It
When the season started I actively engaged with the fans. What I really enjoy about my job is visiting my clients at their seats. I get the chance to meet them personally, hear them talk about their experience and answer questions all-the-while building a relationship with them. Despite having aspergers the rest of my life I view this not as a disability but as a blessing. There will be times when I have difficulty being socially interactive whether that’s inside or outside the office. In the end, it’s the little things that remind me why I love what I do.
I chose sports because I loved it ever since I was a kid. I chose sports because it’s helped cope with my disability all throughout my life. I’d do whatever it takes to surround myself with the game I love. If that meant moving into an apartment on my own I’d do it. If that meant overcoming my fear of flying for a job opportunity I’d do it. If that meant moving 1700 miles to a state I never been to with no family in the area in order to start my career I’d do it. I’d do this not only for myself but for those who have the same ambition.
If you have autism you can achieve anything you put your mind to. There will be times where you must overcome adversity. There will be times where you will second-guess yourself. In the end, you need to ask yourself is it worth it? I truly believe that there will be leaders who are autistic that will shatter glass ceilings and be successful. They will make others realize that we may be different but we are just as capable.