Chattanooga Lookouts center fielder Adam Godwin didn't have enough offensive productivity or defensive opportunities to earn an invitation to Monday night's Southern League All-Star Game.
That's OK. The league may not have a player more appreciative of a chance to compete.
A week after graduating from Enterprise (Ala.) High School in 2001, Godwin was on a field in Enterprise with some of his traveling team counterparts when he was struck by lightning. He got under a tree next to the field but didn't realize he was standing on a metal sprinkler head, which conducted the current through his body.
"It sounded like a shotgun going off in my ear," Godwin said, "and when I came to, I was being drug off the field, and it was storming. A couple of my teammates were dragging me by my feet, and I didn't know what was going on. I just knew I felt like throwing up."
Godwin stopped breathing for nearly a minute. He experienced nausea for a couple of weeks and headaches for a month.
Several years earlier, Godwin had a childhood friend killed by lightning. Several years later, his former high school would be struck by an F4 tornado, resulting in eight fatalities.
His left arm is tattooed with several verses from the first chapter of James, which deal with how the testing of faith builds perseverance.
"Words can't express how blessed I am to be standing here," the 26-year-old said. "It's definitely the man upstairs. It's all in his plans."
Godwin comes from an athletic family, with father Al having played football at Kentucky under Charlie Bradshaw and John Ray. Older brother Ben played football at Enterprise High and worked with the University of Alabama team, and younger sister Shelley just finished a four-year tennis career with the Crimson Tide.
Alabama always has been Godwin's favorite college team, but his best offer out of high school came from Enterprise State Junior College. He was fortunate to get that, having been a senior backup until a late-season injury thrust him into the starting lineup.
"One night toward the end of the season, a coach from the junior college showed up to watch my best friend pitch against our rival high school," he said. "I think I had a diving catch, a bunt base hit and a couple of stolen bases, and he offered both of us two days later."
Godwin eventually played two seasons at Troy University, where he set the program's single-season (84) and career (112) records for stolen bases and was named Atlantic Sun Player of the Year in 2005. He was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the '05 draft and continued his sizzling play in rookie ball by hitting .310 in 55 games with Ogden.
The 5-foot-11, 184-pounder made his Double-A debut last year with Jacksonville and held his own, hitting .264 with 37 RBIs in 132 games. He was penciled behind James Tomlin in center this season with the Lookouts and is hitting .239 through 70 games.
Godwin had a .280 average on June 18 but has scuffled since with few chances to rebound.
"Work ethic is so important as far as having a maintenance of knowing how to keep your swing when you're not playing," Lookouts manager John Valentin said. "A lot of that is cage work and batting practice. Sometimes you don't have the luxury of at-bats in a game to work it out, so you have to work it out in other ways."
Said Godwin: "Learning how not to take it home is one of the biggest things I've struggled with."
He went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in Saturday's 7-3 win over Huntsville, and it will take a lot more than a disappointing stretch to deter him.
"It was a sunny day, and I had my shirt off and sunglasses on," he recalled. "The next minute, I'm being pulled off and an ambulance is sitting there. It still crosses my mind from time to time, but it gives me an opportunity to share what a blessing it is that I'm here."