ST. PAUL, Minn -- In baseball, you get three strikes until you’re out.
“My life wasn’t perfect,” says Tori Holt. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes.”
Two decades ago Tori Holt swung and missed at the first “It was like a year and a half of being sober and I was like I am not going through this again.”
Set to play baseball at St. Cloud State, Holt never made it. He fell hard into a life of partying. Becoming an alcoholic and never finishing school. “I struggled as a youngster,” Holt recalls. Eventually he got his life back together and this year he’ll celebrate 14 years of sobriety. He has a family. And now, he has a second chance.
“He’s the second oldest guy in our program,” chuckles Dave Heib, Northwestern’s head coach. “It’s me and then it’s him.”
This spring Tori will be a relief pitcher for The University of Northwestern in St. Paul. Balancing the rigors of being a parent while chasing his dream of being a college athlete. It is literally living the dream of every middle aged man who ever played sports.
“It’s like that movie with Robin Williams and Kurt Russell,” Holt laughs. “Where they live their life all over again.”
At 41- years old he is the oldest college baseball player in the country and probably one of the most grateful.
“To be able to go through life 23 years since high school,” Holt says. “Wanting that time in the dugout again with your teammates, it’s stuff that you think you’d never get back. The door was opened.”
While his body is in good enough shape to play, it’s his experience and his mind that will ultimately be his greatest reason for success. “He’s 41 years old! He’s gonna out think a lot of 21 year olds,” says Hieb. Holt will also provide life lessons to those kids in the hopes that they don’t made some of the same mistakes. It's a perk of this venture he deems even more important than playing baseball.
"There’s no way that it’s a failure,” Holt says “If I go out and get lit up big deal. I can be a leader to this kids and maybe they don’t make the same mistakes I did maybe I can help get the most out of them.”
He’s certainly getting the most out of himself in the later innings of his career. Throwing strikes now – instead of taking them.