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By Brita Meng Outzen
By MICHAEL McCARTHY, Contributing columnist
At the beginning of the season everyone is excited to get started, the season is fresh in each player's mind and we are looking forward to getting started.
As the season wears on, players see highs and lows on the field, the team goes through winning and losing streaks, each player gets banged up with nagging injuries and, of course, the bus breaks down.
The last few weeks of the season is when one truly find out what players are made of.
We've played more than 120 games thus far and are in a position to make the playoffs. While the offseason is near, the most important thing for each player (and team) is to focus on the here and now.
Finishing the season strong is what you train for each offseason to ensure your body can make it through a long season. From the daily shoulder strengthening exercises to long explosive workouts in the cold winter mornings, our bodies and minds are being pushed more now than at any other point in the season.
It is up to the players and coaches as a team to decide how they go about staying focused at the end of the season.
While some teams need the discipline of pep talks and meetings to keep them focused, sometimes the best thing to do is to just let loose and have some fun.
Even with the playoffs within reach, we have continued having fun and going about our business the same way we have every game for the last 120+. While our team has changed, players have moved up and down, we have still continued to fight for our careers and the team every day.
Fighting for the team isn't always a "Let's go!" or a "Play hard!" Sometimes, it is someone wearing a funny costume or the team making a "Harlem Shake" video.
It is each player and coach fighting for one another's sanity because we all know our being pushed to our limits.
That determination and passion for one another is what allows us to compete at such a high level. We know the challenges one another is going through.
This is why so many players call their team a family. While there may not be gifts from one another at Christmas or thoughtful cards on your birthday, there are moments of struggle that we all face together.
Our team is coming together and getting hot at the right time. We are playing for each other every day and the result has been a lot of winning.
Keep an eye on us the next few weeks as something special is brewing on the field and in the clubhouse.
Mike McCarthy is a former Cal State Bakersfield player who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and currently plays in their farm system.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @mmcarthy35