“Life is all about finding your purpose,” said Matt Szczur, Cape May County native and current outfielder with the Chicago Cubs. “You have to set goals for yourself. Set one goal you want to accomplish each day and do it.”
Szczur surprised fifth grade students today at both Margaret Mace Elementary and Cape Trinity Catholic Schools, after students viewed Szczur’s E:60 segment about him putting his career on the line by donating his bone marrow to a baby girl with Leukemia.
Szczur spoke to students about the importance of decisions making, goal setting and achieving success as part of the local Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., Program.
Szczur said that when he was in fifth grade, he assembled his own goal list, some of his goals including wanting to be a professional baseball player, earning a full scholarship to college, playing both football and baseball in college and becoming a millionaire.
“I think I accomplished quite a bit of my list,” Szczur said. “And you guys can too if you work hard enough and want it badly enough.”
Szczur urged students to take care of their bodies by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly, sharing with them a bit of his daily routine as a comparison.
“How many of you have heard of a Ferrari?” he asked them.
All raised their hands.
“Well, you don’t put regular gas in a Ferrari, do you? You need premium gas. You need to fuel your body as you would your Ferrari because your body is your Ferrari.” Szczur said.
The key to success, Szczur said, starts with a positive attitude.
“You have to be in school, right? So what would be the point of coming to school and achieving bad grades when you have to be here anyway? You should want to achieve good grades. Because the only person you are hurting by not giving it your best is yourself.”
And when you give it your best, success follows.
“I worked hard every day for my goals when I was your ages. I still work hard every day for my goals. If you keep working hard one day you’re going to realize that you’ve made yourself better and that good things will follow.”
Students asked Szczur if risk taking pays off in the end.
“I took a big risk by donating my bone marrow,” Szczur said. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to play sports again. But there was never a question as to whether or not I was going to donate. I was always going to save that little girl’s life. That risk was worth it to me, and here I am today, so everything worked out.”
After class, Szczur stuck around to sign pictures and baseballs for each student and took class photos of everyone together.