— Gil Meche, pitcher for the Kansas City Royals

Gil Meche
Meche pitches against the Oakland A’s in 2008.
(photo: John H. Kim/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

The 32-year-old baseball player from the Lafayette is getting a lot of attention for his recent decision to retire and forgo the last year of his contract. Salary given up? $12 million.

“’When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,’” Meche said this week by phone from Lafayette, La. “’Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.’”

Honorable indeed. But it’s his longing for home and sense of identity wrapped up in place that’s most striking, and more interesting to think about. I know my North Dakota roots have shaped me in myriad, subtle ways: the open landscape, the Missouri River, the big sky and broad, never-ending horizon, the pragmatic people. These all add up and are a large part of what defines me. And you?

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