Playing collegiate baseball gave me the most rewarding and influential years of my life.

The best part of my day started after 1 p.m., when I would head down to the baseball field and put in my athletic work with teammates. Playing baseball taught me so much — how to fail and how to keep moving forward with a positive attitude, how to manage my time, how to be a good team player. After college, I was lucky enough to keep my baseball career alive as a 2011 MLB Amateur Draft pick. Then, after a couple years with the Houston Astros organization, my mind turned to life after baseball.

It was then that I began to realize how my years of training had given me the foundations for one of the most important jobs out there — teaching.

I began to notice the parallels between my life as a shortstop and the work on education’s frontlines as I got involved with Khan Academy — an organization dedicated to providing a free education for anyone around the world. Seeing the impact of Khan Academy fueled my desire to transition into the classroom, where I could have a direct impact. So, I applied to Teach For America.

This fall, I’ll become a classroom teacher. I will use the skills and lessons I learned chasing my own dreams as an athlete to help underserved kids realize theirs.

As I find my feet, there will be so much to learn, and I’ll rely on the skills I developed as an athlete.

Here at Georgetown, we Hoyas hold ourselves to high standards. Daily, we live out our commitment to resiliency, teamwork and overcoming adversity. We dedicate our hearts and minds to our respective games, push ourselves to succeed, celebrate when we do and learn how to grow when we don’t.

That mindset is what I want to bring to the classroom and what I want to instill in every single one of my students. My kids and I will be a team. In order to succeed, we’ll have to work together, communicate, trust one another, take responsibility for and learn from our mistakes and overcome the significant challenges in front of us. In short, we’ll have to leave it all out on the field.

When we reach our goals — when all my students pass the class or finally understand that physics equation — I know I’ll feel the same rush I used to get from taking the field on Friday nights. As athletes, we strive to jump higher, run faster, push farther. When we become teachers, we ask our kids to do the same — give their all to reach new heights.

It’s a legacy that lives on long past any conference title or national championship. Victory never tasted so sweet.

Jimmy Howick is a former minor league shortstop for the Houston Astros. He is currently studying at Georgetown University to complete the Post Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program and will begin teaching for the Teach For America New York City Corps in fall 2015. 

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