Over the past few months, SportsForce has been conducting free seminars to help educate athletes and their families on the road ahead and what to expect. SportsForce team members cover a variety of subjects at every seminar , but also share one constant message: it is never too late to work towards that roster spot. Team members highlight an entire time line of preparing for college sports, but are sure to remind young athletes never to get discouraged. Never give up at the high school level, the college level and beyond. Persistence pays, and there has been no greater recent example than Daniel Nava. As a Boston-girl myself, I was instantly aware of Nava’s great start for the Red Sox. If you didn’t get a chance to read the headlines, Nava became the fourth player in history to hit a grand slam in his first at bat in the majors, and just the second player to do so on the first pitch he saw.

At first wind of this story, you may think that Nava is a golden child of baseball who has been barreling towards the majors since high school. Not so. Nava is a great example of pursuing your dreams until you get there, and never letting “no’s” get the best of you. Fox Sports shared some of Nava’s story:

Nava, 27, was 4 feet 8 and 70 pounds when he entered high school, took growth hormone — prescribed by a doctor, not some major-league enabler — but didn’t have a growth spurt until his sophomore year in college.

He was cut by Santa Clara his freshman year and ended up team manager, washing uniforms. He then left the school because his family couldn’t afford the tuition, played two years at junior college, only to return to Santa Clara — on scholarship — for his senior year.

No major-league team drafted him. The Chico Outlaws of the Independent Golden League cut him. Nava took a year off, thinking — again — that his career might be over. But the Outlaws gave him another shot.

Then, in fall 2007, the Red Sox signed Nava, paying the Outlaws the princely sum of $1 — yes, $1 — for his rights, with an additional $1,499 to follow if he made a minor-league team out of spring training.

Now here was Nava less than three years later, replacing Josh Reddick on the major-league roster and filling in for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida, playing left field at Fenway on the same ground once treaded by Red Sox greats Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Manny Ramirez.

Good thing they got there when they did — Daniel hit his grand slam off Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton with none out in the bottom of the second inning, and later added a lead-off double off reliever Chad Durbin in the fifth.

At 27, Nava’s debut is no miracle, but the result of hard work and persistence; the kind of hard work that can earn a college roster spot and beyond. To read the full Fox Sports article visit: http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Daniel-Navas-parents-watch-a-milestone-moment-for-their-son

For video of the grand slam visit: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=8987563

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