At age four, shortly after Alex Montoya moved to the United States, he knew he wanted to work for the San Diego Padres.
Except Alex was born without arms or a right leg.
Born in Medellin, Columbia, the doctor told his mother and father not to expect much from their son because his abilities would be limited. Lucky for Alex, his folks were people of faith and a fighting spirit. They were determined their boy would do his best with what God gave him. Still, they had to admit to him that becoming a professional baseball player with a set of prosthetic limbs seemed a bit out of reach.
Alex tells a story of being in kindergarten and wanting to climb the monkey bars on the playground at recess. Half of his friends told him he was crazy, that it was too dangerous. The other half said that if he fell, they’d laugh, but if he really wanted to do it, they’d help him get to the top. (He was popular even back then. If you knew him, you’d know why.)
So Alex used his hook-hands for balance and struggled his way up the monkey bars while his friends cheered him on – until the bell rang. The other five-year-olds went back to class about the same time Alex realized getting down would be even harder than going up. Thankfully, his teacher came and rescued him from a precarious position that suspiciously felt like the verge of a fall.
But that day, Alex made a decision: If he could climb the monkey bars with his prosthetic arms and leg,
Alex would find a way to work in baseball when he grew up, the thing he loved most.
As soon as Alex could sound out words, he started reading the sports page in the newspaper. Before long, he noticed lots of people work behind the scenes at a ballpark: journalists, commentators, statisticians, coaches, and trainers. Who knew all the positions somebody with a passion for the game could do to have a career in professional baseball?
“It takes a lot more than a team of players to make a baseball season,” Alex says.
Alex attended the University of Notre Dame where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a minor in Theater. From there, he went on to the University of San Francisco where he got a Master’s degree in Sports Management. It was time to pursue his intention all along.
Alex would begin his career in professional baseball.
Except when he moved to San Diego, California to work for the Padres, there weren’t any entry-level positions available. After the initial disappointment, he took a job for minimum wage at Petco Park as an usher, seating fans before the games. Alex made a point of getting to know the trainers, public relations people, business administrators, members of the press, and grounds keepers.
Every day, he would tell at least one supervisor: “Someday, I’m going to work for you.”
While working as an usher, he applied for three other jobs he didn’t get. Finally, the Director of Latino Affairs, a Hispanic outreach position, became available in the Public Relations Department. This was the perfect position for Alex Montoya, the kid who always knew he’d, one day, have a career in baseball, working for the San Diego Padres.
Nine years later, Alex has given lots of motivational speeches about setting intentions and reaching goals.
If you’d like to know more, check out his books.
You can also follow Alex’s motivational blog posts and quotes on his website: AlexMontoya.org: You Can Do Anything!
Alex’s FIVE Must-Do’s to Reach Your Goals:
- Don’t ever be afraid to try something new. If it doesn’t work out, so what? You’ll always learn something you didn’t know before, and if it does, you will open doors you never knew existed.
- Have a dream. It may or may not change along the way (I didn’t become a pro baseball player), but it will give you direction.
- Make a plan. Give yourself goals and benchmarks to keep you on track.
- Sometimes you’ll feel alone, but you’re never alone. Reach out. There are always people who will be there to prop you up, and you’ll be there to keep others on their path, too.
- And most important: NEVER GIVE UP.
We’d love to hear about your goals and dreams, new or old. Have you gotten stuck along the way? What obstacles have you encountered? What helps (or has helped) you to get back on track and keep going?