Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Marjama received life-changing news this week. The 28-year-old journeyman — who had a brief five-game stint with Seattle last season — learned that he’ll be on the opening day roster for the first time in his career.
It’s the news Marjama has been waiting to hear for years. It’s confirmation that all of the hard work he’s put in has paid off. It’s also the realization of a dream that nearly ended before he could pursue it because of an eating disorder that consumed his life in high school.
Marjama opened up about his battle in a short documentary that was released Wednesday on LeBron James’ multimedia platform Uninterrupted. In it, Marjama reveals that he pushed so hard to cut weight to contribute to his high school’s wrestling team, he developed anorexia.
Typically, eating disorders are not associated with men, but Marjama is speaking now in an effort to bring more awareness to the fact that eating disorders can impact anyone.
“If I can maybe affect one person that doesn’t have to have their hopes and dreams taken away from them because they’re suffering from an eating disorder. And they’re able to follow their hopes and dreams, that’s all I really want,” Marjama told ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday.
Marjama says the obsession with his body image goes back as far as eighth grade. It took a hold on his life when he started wrestling, and it got progressively worse as he tried sculpting the perfect body in his search for a girlfriend.
“I was definitely getting into an attraction to girls,” he said of that time. “So my way was thinking about it was … if I’m going to get a girlfriend, I’ve got to get a six pack, and so I thought it I didn’t eat anything, well I wouldn’t get any fat, and then if I worked out a ton I would get big and muscular.”
It’s a pattern we often hear associated with eating disorders, but it’s coming from a perspective we rarely hear. For that reason alone, Marjama deserves credit for sharing his story.
Marjama has also become an example of how it’s possible to overcome personal demons. By his senior year of high school, he was on the path to a healthier life. That’s when his dream to play professional baseball started to blossom. What’s followed has been ten grueling years spent polishing his game in college and in the minor leagues, and it’s all been worth it now that his time has finally come.
“To be honest I didn’t think it was really realistic,’’ Marjama told the Seattle Times this week. “We work for it. But it’s such a small percentage of guys that have that happen to them. So for it now to happen, it’s rewarding. It’s been long road, but it’s all worth it right now.’’
Marjama’s path to the big leagues has been a lot longer than the typical player. His journey though has made him stronger, and his story could serve as motivation and inspiration to others looking for a similar path in life.
For more on Marjama’s story, we encourage you to watch his short documentary right now at Uninterrupted.
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