Home Run History By Adam Burke

Seeing him standing in a classroom passionately teaching history, many would not begin to suspect the baseball career that Brick Smith left behind.

A first baseman, Brick Smith played professional baseball from 1982-88 before coming to Providence Day School to teach history. He spent a majority of his career with the Seattle Mariners, but played for three different organizations in total. Smith fondly recalls his time in the league, reflecting on how significantly things have changed in 30 years. In a time where salaries weren't doled out in the orders of millions, Brick Smith’s love of the game was the driving force behind his career.

Mr. Smith recollects his time playing college baseball for Wake Forest University. “I was getting a lot of attention my junior year”, he admits. Instead of taking up an offer he received his junior year, however, Smith stayed to finish his degree before moving on to professional baseball.

Brick Smith running to field a ground ball. Photo courtesy of Brick Smith.

This attitude stands out from what can be observed in this day and age; the temptation of money means that athletes are more motivated to “go pro” than to earn their degree. It can therefore be said that for some, college serves only as a bridge to reach a professional level of athletics. Contrarily, Smith’s choice to earn his degree illustrates his ulterior motives and priorities. Brick Smith’s stance on the value of education proved to serve him well as he began his transition to teaching.

Following an ankle injury and operation, Smith took on a different sort of offer: a job opportunity at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. With barely any time to recover or prepare after his surgery, he was offered a position that required him to start promptly. Developing a passion for educating, Smith returned to college to obtain his Master’s Degree.

“What people don't realize is how much time you all spend with one another”.

When asked about the interaction between teachers in comparison to his time with teammates, Brick Smith talks highly about the camaraderie he experienced while playing professional baseball: “What people don't realize is how much time you all spend with one another”. Although his days of making public appearances or associating with Seattle’s organization are over, Smith continues to stay in contact with a few of his closest teammates. Many former teammates have found their way back into the organization as coaches or staff, and so Smith tries to at least catch up or have dinner with them if they're in Charlotte.

“In teaching, you get to witness these kids progress, and you don't get that same thing from playing baseball on a team”.

Although forming a greater bond with his teammates than his work companions, Smith expresses the inverse when it comes to the reward of the two professions. In comparison to a profession where motivation comes solely from personal gain, Brick Smith proudly tells of the extrinsic aspects of teaching: “In teaching, you get to witness these kids progress, and you don't get that same from thing playing baseball on a team”.

All in all, Brick Smith is a fantastic example of bringing a bright and passionate personality to the classroom. Smith’s interests in his students’ well-being and development as learners shows in his class; he facilitates an open environment in which even the most shy and hesitant students are able to better themselves as learners and thinkers.

So although he no longer experiences the same exhilaration that baseball brought him, Brick Smith concludes that he has found his true calling through teaching.

Created By
Adam Burke


Created with images by cindydangerjones - "baseball field baseball gravel"

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