“I Admire People Who Handle Adversity” – Kris Bryant
The baseball star opens up about failure and building character.
What's your game plan?
It’s easy to forget that Chicago Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant has only been playing Major League baseball for three years. On paper, his records and awards are what many would hope to achieve in a lifetime. In person, his towering stature paired with a calm confidence give him a powerful presence that counters any preconceived stereotypes of a youth immersed in fame and success. In talking with Kris, it is easy to imagine how his thoughtful, easygoing manner would translate on the field and in the dugout. He’s clearly a team player that inspires and encourages those around him, something he doesn’t take for granted.
This is Kris Bryant’s game plan.
You’ve had a number of successes, different accolades, MVP, Rookie of the Year, etc. How do you normally celebrate?
Usually with a nice dinner. We’ll just go out with my family and a couple of friends. Nothing too crazy, no wild parties. Just celebrate with the people that helped me get to that point, over dinner. I’m pretty picky-ish, so it’s probably something like a steak dinner. Meat and potatoes.
Is there something in particular that you’re most proud of?
For me, I’m most proud of how I’ve handled everything that’s come my way. You’ve mentioned some of the successes I’ve had. Sometimes that affects people in a negative way. Personally, it’s made me more thankful for the position I’m in. So, I’m most proud of how I’ve handled this success.
How do you balance your personal goals with your goals for the team?
That’s a tough one because everybody, myself included, individually wants to do well. If you don’t do well, you’re not going to be able to stay at the professional level. However, my dad has always told me that if you put the success of your team first, your own success will follow. That’s something that I try to live by especially in our sport. In baseball, you play in so many games that you can lose track of that balance.
I’m a big believer in karma. You get what you put out there.
You personally put in the training and practice to be the best but how important is your support team?
Everybody that I’ve come in contact with, a coach, a player, my dad, has given me something that has helped me along the way, but especially my dad. He played [baseball] when he was my age. He didn’t make it to where I’m at, but he helped me avoid some of the traps that he stepped in like thinking too big, or believing you’re sometimes better than you really are. The reality is humbling.
In the Major Leagues, even at the university level, there are many driven, talented players. What do you think sets you apart?
What really separates the good from the great is the belief in one’s self. Our game is built around so much failure that you almost have to be better at handling failure than you are at handling success, because it’s really few and far between. I had a summer in college after my freshman year, when I went to a summer league where I really struggled and was completely outmatched. My thoughts were scrambled all over the place and I just got dominated. But it was good for me. It tested me and left me questioning if I wanted to play the game. It was something I had to experience. I look back on that summer and realize if I could get through it just fine, any future adversity or struggle I may face, I’ll be able to handle it.
I admire the people who handle adversity more than the people who just go out there and all the success comes to them.