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The City Journals

Members of the Same Team for 14 years

Jul 15, 2016 08:18AM ● By Jessica Thompson

Ardan Larsen, Taylorsville High School graduated senior, feels baseball has given him the opportunity to gain lifelong friendships as well as learn lifelong lessons. –Ardan Larsen

By Jessica Thompson

Braden DeBenedictis and Ardan Larsen have been playing baseball for Taylorsville since they were 4 and 6 years old, respectively. Now graduated seniors, both boys have finished off their high school baseball season with the same team they started with so many years before.

“The highlight of the season for me was finishing my baseball career with the same kids I started it with,” Larsen said. “Nothing could beat the feeling of playing with kids you trust and who are also some of your closest friends.”

This team that has been with Larsen for the 12 years has taught him many life lessons, including a great lesson on friendship.

“When I look back at being part of the team I was on, the kids I played with helped me grow into the person I am today,” he said. Without them, and the game, my life would be very different from what it is now. The biggest life lesson I’ve gained from baseball is friendship. Whenever we lost or I wasn’t playing well, I always knew that no matter how low I felt at any point in time the kids that surrounded me were still going to help me rise and be the greatest friends and teammates.”

Teammate DeBenedictis feels playing baseball is all about being there for his teammates that he’s been playing with for 14 years.

“Being a part of a team is very important in baseball,” he said. “It’s not like other sports where one guy can potentially carry the whole team on his back. In baseball you all have to work together and individually to complete a goal that you have set. Being a team means that you have each other’s back no matter what happens during the process or what the outcome is. My favorite aspect of the game is the team I played for. We are all very good friends and have played on the same team together for 14 years in a row.”

Baseball has taught DeBenedictis many life lessons, but the one that stands out the most is what he learned about failure.

“Baseball has taught me how to deal with failure,” DeBenedictis said. “In life, I have failed many times as well as in baseball. Baseball has taught me to wipe off failure immediately after it happens. If I make an error, so what, next pitch. If I fail a test, so what, next test. Baseball has taught me that if I keep failing, it will only drive me to work harder and harder to achieve success. Baseball has molded me into the person I am today.”

Whether it is the way baseball relives stress or the competitive nature of the game, both boys love the way playing the game of baseball makes them feel.  

“When I play baseball, there are tons of different feelings that I feel, but the biggest one for me is pride,” Larsen said. “I’ve played for a Taylorsville team my whole life, and there’s nothing better than winning for your city.”