Thank you, Kid Cudi: Mental Health, Baseball & The Man on the Moon – @JamesSantore

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SKYLINE SPEW EPISODE 7 OUT NOW! Find out everything you need to know about the La Salle Legends Foundation, and hear us do our normal spew. Subscribe, rate and listen on your favorite podcast platform and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @SkylineSpew

It has been a wild few months for me personally. Without getting too deep into my personal life, the main focus of my attention (especially from an emotional perspective) has been focused on the Save La Salle Baseball movement. I will be talking plenty about that in a forthcoming blog that will release over the weekend, but I wanted to take a second to reflect on the movement up to this point and how Kid Cudi relates.

As I sit here listening to Man on the Moon III, I think back to high school. I think back to a time where I was completely alone and struggled to find myself amidst the teenage angst of high school. I was always a loner, preferring the sounds and libations of video games and soda as opposed to those of party music and alcohol. Baseball was always an outlet for me, though. But even baseball became a place of loneliness and struggle which in turn affected my ability on the field and my mental health off the field.

I was lucky enough to get called up to Varsity my Sophomore year of high school for the annual Disney trip in which we played teams from across the country at the Wide World of Sports Complex. Making this team as a Sophomore was a very difficult thing to do considering that I attended a public school that had a few thousand students. So at the time, getting this opportunity was my biggest accomplishment to date.

The problem was that I was an outcast. I was so much different than my teammates that the entire trip I tried to be alone as much as possible. Airports, bus rides, even in the dugout. I just felt claustrophobic and had nowhere to go. At the time, I had no idea that I was dealing with severe anxiety which led to me being socially inept. But before I knew and understood my struggles with anxiety, my remedy was music.

As I discussed on Episode 5 of Skyline Spew, music means the world to me (I have amassed over 1,500 hours of music listened to in 2020 – maybe I have a problem?). From the second I wake up until the second I go to sleep, I am listening to all different types of music. Music gives me a feeling of power; A feeling that no matter what I am up against I can overcome it. So as a 15-year-old struggling with a phantom battle of anxiety, music was my outlet. Specifically, Scott Mescudi. AKA Kid Cudi. AKA The Man on the Moon.

My first time hearing Kid Cudi I was playing NBA Live 09 when a unique, spaced-out beat came over the speakers: Day ‘N’ Nite. Immediately, I googled the artist: Kid Cudi. I found Man on the Moon; I downloaded Man on the Moon; And I listened to Man on the Moon hundreds, if not thousands of times. For the first time in my life, it felt like someone understood what I was going through. Someone understood that it can be a struggle to feel like an outcast. And frankly, Kid Cudi made me feel like it was OKAY to be an outcast.

 

I will never forget one specific time on the aforementioned Disney trip my Sophomore year. I was sitting (alone) in the Orlando Airport. We were waiting for our vans to take us to the hotel and I had been getting made fun of nonstop the whole day to that point. And honestly? I probably deserved some of that. My teammates weren’t bad people – they were kids. And I had thin skin. But at the time? I was so, so upset that all I had wanted to do was go home. With that being obviously out of the question, I plugged in my headphones and threw on Man on the Moon. I vividly remember hearing the song Cudi Zone, closing my eyes, and taking as deep a breath as one could possibly take. Cudi’s message, and the way he presented said message, resonated with me in a way I had never felt before. I was at an all-time low from a mental health perspective. But Kid Cudi, and Cudi Zone specifically, quickly brought me out of the gutter.

How is Kid Cudi correlated to Save La Salle Baseball? Good question. These last few months have been hell. Trying to save a program that means so, so much to so many people is a difficult task. My shoulders lay heavy as I feel that is my God-driven mission to save this damn program. Why? Because La Salle Baseball was the tangible form of the feeling of relief Cudi Zone gave me. 

For the very first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. I had a community. I had friends. I had FAMILY. La Salle Baseball saved my life. Kid Cudi saved my life. And now, it is my job to Save La Salle Baseball.

Yesterday we announced the La Salle Legends Foundation. You can see the video I created below that portrays what La Salle means to me, my partners in #SaveLaSalleBASE Joe and Kevin, and how we plan on making good on our promise to bring business opportunities to La Salle to do more than just improve baseball.

 

And today? Kid Cudi dropped Man on the Moon III. An absolute masterpiece of an album that encompasses everything that made Kid Cudi the voice of my generation and all of us that struggle with mental health. It can’t be a coincidence that in the most stressful time of my life, a time where I feel like I am fighting a battle that I HAVE to win no matter what, Kid Cudi returns to talk to me. And once again, he is telling me things are okay. Telling me that, just like he did, you can overcome bad times and come out much better than you were before. The La Salle Legends Foundation means the world to me. It is my passion project and something that I never thought I would have the chance to do. But it’s going to be a grind. and it certainly won’t be easy. And fortunately, I have Man on the Moon III to get me through all of those difficult times.

So thank you, Kid Cudi. Thank you for saving me 11 years ago and telling me it’s okay to be different. And thank you for coming back again with a soundtrack that is going to help me save a damn program.

#SaveLaSalleBASE

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