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Yelich to alma mater: 'This is just a small chapter'

@AdamMcCalvy
April 11, 2020

MILWAUKEE -- “Never forget to realize how lucky you are!” That was at the heart of a letter from Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich to the senior baseball players at Westlake High School in metro Los Angeles, Yelich’s alma mater. The school’s second-year coach, Wally Barnett, received the letter on Friday

MILWAUKEE -- “Never forget to realize how lucky you are!”

That was at the heart of a letter from Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich to the senior baseball players at Westlake High School in metro Los Angeles, Yelich’s alma mater. The school’s second-year coach, Wally Barnett, received the letter on Friday afternoon and shared it via Twitter.

Yelich’s message is relevant for everyone, particularly the high school and college seniors everywhere whose graduation plans were dashed by the coronavirus response. The message is especially poignant for the students at Westlake, who have been touched by three crises in less than two years: a mass shooting in 2018 at a bar in neighboring Thousand Oaks, less than five miles away; the California wildfires that same fall; and now a global pandemic.

Here is Yelich’s letter in full:

Dear Seniors,

You should all be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far, not in baseball, but in life. You’ve experienced things that most people go an entire lifetime without seeing, and each time coming out on the other side and stronger! I’m sure this probably isn’t how you envisioned your senior year coming to a close, but this is just a small chapter of your life that’s just beginning!

There’s a cliché in sports that goes, “Play Every Game As if it’s Your Last.” For some of us that comes at 12, others it’s 18, 20, 22, and for the lucky ones much later. In the end it unfortunately happens to us all. Rarely is it when we want it to be, and most times it seems unfair.

Some of you have played your last game and that’s fine!! It’s fine because you’re going to go on to do great things in this world, things that have way bigger impact than anything that can be done on a baseball field!

Others get to go on and play at the next level and that’s a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Continue to play the game with joy and for all the reasons you started in the first place. Most importantly, play for all your teammates that no longer get to do so, and never forget to realize how lucky you are!

No matter where this next chapter takes you just know that place you call home is proud of you! You’re the future of this world. Best of luck in this next phase of life. You’re prepared for anything that comes your way. Congratulations class of 2020!

Christian Yelich – Westlake Class of 2010

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.