By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Mike Coy is a 64 year old Austin Metro Baseball League member, an MSBL World Series and Fall Classic participant since 1990 and most recently a four-year throat cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in 2013. In 2015 Mike wrote a book titled ‘I Chose…Live’ about his cancer ordeal with the hope that more men would heed the message to get checked and how to win the war if you are forced to deal with cancer. The article below is a summary in Mike’s own words of how he has played baseball for many, many years, tackled his diagnosis head on and is now back on the field. As the title of his book indicates…he chose to live!
By Mike Coy, Austin Metro Baseball League Cancer Survivor
“Here’s the deal. I’ve never been sick a day in my life. No history of cancer in my family. I’ve never smoked, dipped, no tobacco ever…no drinking…no drugs. How in the world did I get this kind of Cancer? There are several theories that I write about in my book: I Chose…Live. This book is about my battle with cancer and how I am winning the war: 12 weeks of chemotherapy (lost all my hair!!) and seven weeks, five days a week of radiation. However, I’m back up and running, lifting weights and playing MSBL again.
There are two main messages from my book I want every man on this planet to know: (1) Stress is a silent killer (2) Go get checked. Stress lowers our immune system and allows bad things to ravage our bodies. While in the MSBL stop yelling and screaming at the umpires or at the other team. Relax. Have fun. 99% of us missed our chance to play for the Yankees! I know it sounds simplistic…but life is too short to sweat the small stuff. As an old beat-up high school baseball coach and MSBL player for 30 years, I was one of those crazy screamers BC (before Cancer)….Not now…AC (after Cancer).
Men don’t get checked. We don’t go to the doctor. Our death rate is 58% higher than women because we won’t go get a prostate exam…a colonoscopy….OR…a routine physical…Dumb. Skin cancer is a concern also because we are out in the sun so much without sunscreen. These cancers are the simplest to contain and control. Catch it early.
Regarding my baseball life, I am one of two remaining “Charter Members” of the Austin, Texas Metro Baseball League that began in the summer of 1989. Tom Perrin and I are the only two remaining Charter Members still playing in Austin. I was part of one of four teams that started this league in 1989. My first trip to the MSBL World Series was 1990 in the 35+ age division and we lost in the finals of that tournament 5-4 on a misplayed ball hit to center field in the 9th inning. (I’m not bitter!!!) I was back playing in Florida at the Fall Classic in 2014 after my treatment…still weak…hair finally growing back….but I was back on the field and back in the game and loving every moment with a new attitude.
As the precious little Cancer patient girl in my book said: “I have Cancer…but Cancer does not have me!”
I have been fortunate to have won several “rings” playing in Arizona and Florida and also playing on a Father/Son team with my son Christopher along with Steve Sigler and his son Brian on one of those teams. Skip Bradley in San Antonio and Mike Lucas in Austin continue to make baseball alive and well in Central Texas!
I have to say that the whole picture of playing baseball again is the driving force for me. I turn age 65 in June. I can’t wait to play 65+ and be the youngest guy on the field instead of the oldest! Playing with and against so many players over the years is special too. Facing former major league pitchers and players has been a treat. As a 4-year Cancer survivor, each day and every game is special. There is no doubt I am having more fun today than 20 years ago when all I wanted to do was WIN!! Today, we lose a game…so what…we played! That beats the hell out of the alternative. I want to get my story out there and do exactly what my father asked me to do on his deathbed…“Son, make a difference.”
“Play Hard…Don’t go Soft!”
Editor’s note: Go to: Ichoselive.com to order an autographed book. 100% of all profits go to the Aflac Children’s Cancer Center, Atlanta, GA