The Daily Gamecock

Roth talks balance, shares anecdotes

Michael Roth speaks to Honors College students Thursday evening.
Michael Roth speaks to Honors College students Thursday evening.

Former baseball player returns home Thursday


He helped bring two baseball national championship trophies to USC and Thursday night recent graduate Michael Roth returned to campus, this time bringing his thoughts and advice.

At intervals among anecdotes about the College World Series, rooming with fellow baseball player Adam Matthews and finishing homework in the wee hours of the night, Roth shared with students his keys to mastering time management, handling stress, setting priorities and having fun.

Now playing in the Los Angeles Angels’ minor league system, Roth took the audience back to his childhood, when he said he first defined himself and his goal of becoming a Major League Baseball player. Roth said he refined the ways he defined himself as he adjusted to college and balanced his academic, athletic and social goals.

“I wanted all these things. I wanted to have friends, I wanted to get some sleep, I wanted to be able to eat, I wanted to be the best baseball player — you know, be involved in the community,” Roth said. “So, I kind of defined myself. I truly believe that the most successful people have a clue where they’re going; they have an idea of the end result.”

Defining themselves, Roth told his listeners, was the first step in making the most of their time, followed by setting priorities and actually starting what they want to do.

Getting started, he said, is sometimes the hardest part of accomplishing any goal, whether it’s writing a paper or pitching in a game.

“It’s funny, because I’m a starting pitcher, right, and starting has never been my strong point,” Roth said. “You look at my game as a pitcher — I probably give up more runs in the early innings than I do in the later innings. You get stronger as you go on.”

Roth tailored his message to address the challenges of college life, particularly the struggle to handle stress and figure out how to make work and life fun.

He offered his “Four P’s” to turn stress into fun: pinpoint the things that stress you; “preach,” or let out your frustrations; look for perspective in your situation; and strive for positivity.

Third-year biology student Anne Shaw said she was most affected by Roth’s “Four P’s” strategy, as she came to the event looking for advice on how to juggle a heavy load of priorities this semester.

“I don’t think about that kind of stuff. I’m just running through life just doing things one day at a time. I don’t have it all planned out like he does,” Shaw said. “It was sort of reassuring to hear (his message that) you need to plan things and have goals.”

Roth’s final send-home punch was a challenge to “make sure you’re having fun” in college.

“Part of college is the experience,” Roth said. “Part of it is having fun, is doing those stupid things. It’s learning from your mistakes — I mean, I’ve made plenty of mistakes. It’s doing those things and having fun.”

Since graduating with a degree in international business and marketing in May and joining the Orem, Utah, Owlz, Roth has spent his first professional offseason building and promoting his own business, Michael T. Roth Enterprises.

He offers his services to give motivational presentations, including Thursday’s talk entitled “You Can Do It All and Do It Well,” sponsored by the Honors Council.