Minneola, Florida – Lake Minneola High School sophomore Adam Gottesman started playing baseball the way most kids start.
“My grandpa, he grew up in Manhattan,” Gottesman said. “Now it’s baseball and the Yankees and all those guys that we’ve always bonded with. We talk about them all the time. That’s why I love baseball. It means we can form a bond.”
However, Adam’s path to the JV team was much more difficult than most other kids. He has Complex His Four His Mitochondrial Disease, which prevents his cells from getting enough energy and makes it more and more difficult to grow. It is a terminal disease for which there is no cure or treatment. Most people with this disease do not live past puberty.
Adam’s mother Jill Kelly said, “As a family, we’re very consistent about not talking about the future. ‘We just take it day by day.'”
Kelly was Adam’s speech pathologist, and around Adam’s fourth birthday, Kelly took Adam out of foster care.
The family eventually moved from upstate New York to central Florida because Adam couldn’t stand the winter.
Upon arriving at Lake Mineola, Adam tried out for the Hawks baseball team.
“I knew I had to keep him. I knew he had to stay. I knew he had to be part of what we were doing. I wanted him to succeed in the game he loves.”
So Adam started practicing in the fall. He drills, runs and works out. And at the end of each game, he got an at-bat.
“Nothing is too big for him,” said Lake Minneola JV Baseball head coach Rodney Ginn. “Anything we asked him to do, he exceeded. What he lacked in baseball skills, he made up for in his heart. And his heart was that of many children.” I think we’ll get the perfect one if we can give it to the team.”
“It’s very positive, which means he’s very motivated,” said Lake Minneola Senior Keegan Jinn. “He has a drive that some kids never find.”
The main trait that made Adam successful both in life and on the ballpark is belief. Trust in yourself and trust in your team.
“I mean, when you’re playing for yourself, you feel unstoppable,” Gottesman said. “And I know my weaknesses as well, I know what I can and can’t do. Sometimes I push it too much. I know I push myself. That’s what I’m always proud of.I push myself forward.
Finding his place on this team means the world to Adam.
“Baseball has it. And I think the kids have it. That’s what I really wanted everyone to know. It’s the world we see now and it seems so negative.” “We have great kids here. Who are so supportive and inclusive and don’t let them feel they’re different,” Kelly said.
As much as baseball helped Adam, so did Adam’s team.
“He made this team believe in us,” said Wheatlo. “Believe what they want and it’s what you get. For me, fear of doubt or disbelief is no longer an option because this young man and what he believes and what he believes I became a believer after seeing how to be successful in life.”