A Conversation with Ockavia Keve Brockington
By Cherise Scrivner
He’s hit numerous home runs and has caught hundreds of fly balls. He’s even made money while doing so. But now Ockavia “Keve” Brockington, finds himself immersed back in school in honor and tribute to his loving and inspiring father.
At a young age, Brockington says he was “forced into baseball,” something he knew little about. At the age of 12 he was beginning a long journey of self discovery, popularity and financial stability – all this, while playing the game he grew to love and enjoy profoundly. This journey made him a humble person and the man he is today.
Today, Brockington, 33, studies magazine journalism at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Brockington says he loves to learn everything about everything. He loves learning the background aspects of journalism including writing, broadcast and reporting. “Anything I can learn I would love to. I would have to say my passion right now would be writing, with an emphasis on sports but not limited to [sports],” Brockington said.
Brockington is also a loving dedicated husband getting ready to celebrate his one year anniversary with his wife, Meghan. They dated for 12 years before being married.
When did you first discover your passion for baseball?
Growing up I loved football and basketball. I was forced into baseball initially by my parents in 1992. It was one of the greatest things that happened to me. One morning they took me to southeast Denver baseball tryouts; all my dad told me was to bring my glove. I recognized friends on the field, so I tried out for the team. I had a lot of fun and unexpectedly I made the AYL [Arapahoe Youth League] Eagles; from there I began to excel.
Where did you play ball during high school and where did your career lead you after graduation?
I attended Denver East High School where I played with the Angels. My junior year of high school I played on junior varsity but only played about four games. By sophomore through senior year I was on varsity. I played center field and closing pitcher throughout my time at Denver East. Starting junior year I applied to many colleges and got accepted, including Texas A&M, and CSU, but I wanted to get drafted.
I went on to play single A ball from age 18-21. Eventually my paths led me back to Colorado where I played club ball at CSU for four years. I later again moved onto play in the NABA [National Adult Baseball Association] for seven years, from age 25-32, playing for the Denver Seven’s, Colorado Twins and the Mile High Zombies.
What is your most memorable experience about baseball?
It was my first season playing for the Eagles; I was 1 for 80 in 1993. That was one hit out of 80 throws, but my only hit of the season was a home run. It made me so happy and determined not to give up.
Did you profit playing minor league baseball?
When I first started playing ball for the A leagues at 18, I was making almost 250 thousand dollars for two seasons.
Fortunately I had the opportunity to make that and I had the upbringing and the parents I did to help me get established and not spend it unwisely. I invested a lot of it. I really had a good circle as far as who controlled my finances.
When I was picked up I could have mismanaged a lot of money if I wouldn’t have had structure. The structure and family help in [my] money management, helped me not end up like many retired athletes that end up bankrupt from irresponsible spending. I am very grateful of this.
What is your favorite thing about baseball?
The camaraderie and the competitiveness of it; I love the game. I mean it’s someone throwing at you and someone trying to hit the ball, that’s pretty much the best thing about it. [I like] the athleticism, you know it’s not easy. One of the things said, is that one of the hardest things to do in sports is to hit a baseball. And I believe that’s true.
What do you pride yourself on most during your career in baseball?
I pride myself on my loyalty to my team. I was always sure not to do anything to hinder my team or myself, to put us in the best spotlight. It really does matter, yes the game is about your performance and how well your team plays as well as yourself, cause there’s no ‘I’ in team, just like the old saying growing up. I pride myself the most with the camaraderie that I had with my teammates but also [the] opposition. I made great friends over the years.
Besides your family who has been your greatest support system over the years?
During baseball my coaches were my support system. Some people don’t have good relationships with their coaches but I seem to have a way to make an establishment of being a good resource with my coach. I loved interacting with them. If there was something going on off the field I felt open to talk with any of my coaches growing up about whatever was going on. It was like they were like second, third… Dads to me. My dad was great and he was always there but if I had a question that he couldn’t answer about athletics I would call one of my coaches.
What inspired you to come back to school and make such a drastic career change?
The passing of my father inspired me to come back to school. This year actually would have been my mom and dad’s 47th wedding anniversary; they were married on Sept. 11,1966. My dad always inspired my sisters and I to continue our education because they didn’t have the opportunities we had. They grew up in the south; my dad grew up in Texas, my mom grew up in Arkansas. They did well for themselves but we had completely different opportunities than they had growing up. It was my dad’s inspiration that led me to go back in tribute and honor to him.
Do you have any regrets?
Yeah, I wish I would have worked harder on myself. I wish I wouldn’t have relied so much on the natural talent I had.
Did it make you grateful you had family support?
Oh, absolutely at the time. I was like this is my money and I want to spend it, but you know after a little recollection and what-not, I was like this is the right thing to do. And, I am where I am today because of that structure.
I had friends that have played various sports like Chauncey Billups, NBA star, to Daniel Graham, NFL former tight end. We all grew up together. They helped me as well because they never mismanaged their money. They bought nice things for themselves and their families, which is expected, which I did as well. I took care of the folks that took care of me. At the same time they weren’t going bankrupt and neither was I. Chauncey is on the verge of a really successful retirement. I am very proud of him.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I would like to have finished school. I would like to be working. I see myself working in television and hopefully I will be fairly decent at it. I would also like to have a child. I mean I am not getting any younger. I am 33; it is something that I have always wanted. After watching and experiencing my family grow up it has always been a goal of mine to have children. I want to teach them as much as I can. If they want to play sports fine, if they don’t, fine. I do want to emphasize education and build my life around them.
Editor’s note: Another story about Keve Brockington titled “Baseball was my life” is posted on the Metro Post-Telegraph website.