Baron Batch: My Story From 30,000 Feet

Steelers rookie running back Baron Batch shares his inspirational story of poverty, pain and perseverance.

(page 1 of 4)

Editor's Note: The following article has been contributed by Baron Batch, the Steelers' seventh-round pick in the 2011 Draft. In addition to being a talented running back, Batch is a published writer and photographer. In January, he traveled to Haiti to help the country's rebuilding efforts. This is his story, in his words, raw and unedited, accompanied by his own original photography.

This column isn’t directed for reader satisfaction—as strange as that sounds. I guess this column is more like personal therapy for me. Rarely do I ever know what I am going to write about before I write it. Typically, something happens during the week and bingo, I then know exactly what I need to write about, and this week has been no different.  I am writing this entire column in response to an email I just read. This is what the email said:

Dear Baron,

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. I have a few questions and am asking for advice. How have you become so successful? How have you achieved what you have? I envy you, but you are also my hero. My family doesn’t have much. I don’t have the perfect life and the talents or skills that you have. I feel like the world is against me sometimes. My parents are divorced and my mom is sick. I have brothers and a sister that I have to take care of like I am a parent. I don’t think it’s fair.  I feel like I will rot in the town that I’m in. I feel like there is no way out. I feel like my life isn’t that important. Can you please email me back because that would be so cool! I would like to hear any advice that you could give. Thanks for reading this.

—Anonymous

Usually, I do all my writing from the comfy red couch that sits in the corner of Sugar Browns, my favorite coffee shop, but after reading that email, this column is written from a somewhat different location. My fingers keep slipping off of the screen of my iPhone because they are drenched with nervous sweat. I genuinely hate to fly, and hate might be an understatement.  It’s ironic that I am about to tell all of you a story during takeoff and through the course of a flight. I figure maybe writing will take my mind off of the fact I’m terrified, and yes, I know that all electronic devices are suppose to be turned off, but I refuse to believe having a phone on makes a difference. Too bad I’m not flying Southwest; I heard that they installed sunroofs in their planes as of two weeks ago, and will even leave it open during the flight! OK, I probably shouldn’t have made that joke, because I just freaked myself out. 

The story I’m about to disclose to you is hard for me to tell because I’ve never really told anyone more than bits and pieces. Few people know this story in its entirety. This is a story that consists of more turbulence and bumps than this flight out of Lubbock that is being tossed helplessly by the west Texas wind. This is a story that I have trouble telling, and honestly really don’t like to. However, after reading that email, I realized this is a story that many young people probably need to hear. This story is one that is close to my heart simply because it is my own. I guess one reason I have avoided this story for so long is because I have never wanted people to pity me. I guess its about time to explain some things.  Now that the plane has reached its cruising altitude, let's begin.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
How Do Pittsburgh Drivers Stack Up in Safety Rankings?

How Do Pittsburgh Drivers Stack Up in Safety Rankings?

According to annual insurance company data, Pittsburghers need a crash course in crash avoidance.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Michael Vick Signing is More of the Same from Steelers

PittGirl: Michael Vick Signing is More of the Same from Steelers

She says the past decade has been a rude awakening into what "The Steeler Way" now means.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
How to Make Pittsburgh-Area Farmers Markets Better

How to Make Pittsburgh-Area Farmers Markets Better

Market managers, farmers and customers all can play a role in making markets live up their potential.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Seats at PNC Park

The 5 Best Seats at PNC Park

With every remaining home game against a divisional opponent — and a pivotal three-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals on deck for Sept. 28-30 — you’ll want a great view of the action.

Comments


Restored Lawrenceville Pub & Restaurant Off to a Strong Start

Restored Lawrenceville Pub & Restaurant Off to a Strong Start

The building at 3523 Penn Ave. has spent a lot of time as a place for Lawrenceville residents to meet and raise their glasses.

Comments


How to Make Healthy School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

How to Make Healthy School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

I have come up with a system that almost is foolproof for us: healthy breakfasts and packed lunches that are quick, easy and protest-free. Isn’t the latter the key?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Cross It Off Your Pittsburgh Bucket List

Cross It Off Your Pittsburgh Bucket List

Just for yinz, Romeo Delivers, Inc. creates a bucket that contains 25 must-do adventures around the ‘Burgh.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Get Your Fill of Football & Food at Heinz Field

Get Your Fill of Football & Food at Heinz Field

The free Coors Light Kickoff and Rib Festival is an annual barbecue-soaked marker of football season’s return.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Four Expert Tips for Choosing The Perfect Wedding Flowers

Four Expert Tips for Choosing The Perfect Wedding Flowers

Even the smallest details of a wedding affect what flower a couple should choose. These florists are here to help you decide.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Meet the Designer: Catherine Montague

Meet the Designer: Catherine Montague

This LEED-AP certified interior designer owns Green Design Innovation in Sewickley.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
PPG Industries Foundation Donates to Pitt

PPG Industries Foundation Donates to Pitt

The funding goes toward engineering and chemistry programs, including PPG’s fellowship positions for undergraduates and graduate students.

Comments


Thinking outside the box (score)
Steelers Offense Too Strong to Bet Against

Steelers Offense Too Strong to Bet Against

Conditions look bleak for the black-and-gold, with unfortunate injuries and suspensions ruling the pre-season. Just remind yourself: In Ben We Trust.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags