After meeting with the UL football team following practice last Thursday, Jonathan Lucroy – former Ragin’ Cajuns and current Milwaukee Brewers starting catcher – delivered an open letter to Cajuns Director of Football Operations director Troy Wingerter.
Lucroy asked that his words be disseminated not only to UL football players, but to other Cajuns as well.
“I want to first say thank you for allowing me the honor of speaking to you. For me, speaking to men that work as hard and represent UL as much as I do fulfills my mission as a Cajun. Any opportunity I get to share with others, I relish, since I consider my time at UL to be an honor, and a blessing. There were some things I forgot to say, so I will say them here.
“First, hold yourselves and your teammates accountable. Be a leader. Drive others to be better. There is a standard here at UL, a standard others before you set. Others that sacrificed, that worked hard, and that didn’t have what you have today. They went without, so you need to be thankful. So I ask, continue to set the standard higher, for each other, for yourselves, for others behind you. Don’t ever let what you do and how you play be good enough. The moment you think it is, you will fail.
“Second, please continue to humbly work hard. There is nothing wrong with having swagger, having confidence. You have to have it to compete at a high level. Although don’t ever get bought in to the fact that you are too good to continue working, thinking your better than others, or thinking you have it figured out.
“You will be humbled eventually, and usually, it’s life that does the humbling, as well as the game. Some of the greatest people I’ve had the honor of being around all had one thing in common, humility. Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt, and Trevor Hoffman, are all great examples. They treat others with respect and kindness. However all are intense when it comes to the game.
“Remember, it is an honor to put that jersey on everyday. Don’t ever take it for granted, it won’t be there forever, so enjoy it, don’t waste it, and don’t dishonor it. Whether (you’re) a starter or a backup, honor that name across your chest with your hard work, sacrifice, and dedication. Buy in to the belief that you can be better as a person, as a player, as a team, and as a University. Don’t accept being mediocre. Don’t tolerate mediocrity, from yourself, or your teammates. I challenge all of you to be different.
“I had someone tell me before I was drafted that the best time I would ever have playing baseball would be in college, so I had better enjoy it. 7 years later and 4 years in the big leagues playing in the playoffs and everything, he was right. Men, enjoy this time of your lives, it will go by quick, trust me.
“The fans here in Lafayette love UL. We represent to them what it means to be Cajun. Blue collared, hardworking, faithful, humble, and personable. Continue to represent UL positively and respectfully in the community. I ask, as a former student-athlete that you continue to do these things. The more you sacrifice now, through the blood, sweat and tears, the better the future will be for others. Just like the ones who have gone before you have done.”
Signing his letter “All the best, Jonathan Lucroy,” Lucroy ended his letter with colorful encouragement to beat Texas State and a quote attributed to William Shakespeare: “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.”
With Lucroy watching on, for the record, UL went on to beat Texas State 48-28 – after building a 45-3 lead – on Saturday night at Cajun Field.