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

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

The Downtown restaurant is a captivating, if costly, catch.
Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Pittsburgh is a city that celebrates its neighborhood bars. In some of those spots, second- and third-generation regulars are pulling up their stools to be served by someone who started pouring drinks decades ago.
Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

People working to overcome substance abuse problems and ex-offenders discover a welcoming environment in restaurant kitchens.
How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

Looking to beat the winter doldrums? We round up the best places and experiences for a little personal indulgence.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

Comments

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongdee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

Comments

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Chefs Becca Hegarty and Rick Easton to cook comfort food to help Hegarty’s mother.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

What is Pittsburgh's best breakfast joint? Dive bar? Yoga studio? Local singer? Meteorologist? It's time to nominate your local favorites in multiple categories.

Comments

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


The Battle of The Hollywood

The Battle of The Hollywood

Dormont's historic Hollywood Theater faces an uncertain future after news of a potential sale prompted an immediate public furor.

Comments

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

The bar, which hosted a bizarre incident involving a top Steelers coach, is fine enough for the post-collegiate set.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

Comments

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

The Patriots are to the Steelers what Moby Dick was to Captain Ahab and that kind of obsession can backfire.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Reviews of "Phantom Thread," "Call Me By Your Name," "Den of Thieves" and new animated releases, plus local movie news and notes.

Comments

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

Reviews of "The Post," "I, Tonya" and "The Commuter," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.

Comments

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

Thinking of popping the question? Take a note from these grooms-to-be who set the bar high.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Downtown is booming as plans develop for yet another new apartment building.

Comments

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Frustrated by his sterile white classroom, teacher Greg Geibel earned an A+ from students when he transformed the space into something resembling a modern coffeehouse.

Comments

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags