This was photo was taken when I got back from the Hospital after my bike jumping accident.  Not only were my front teeth gone, but the large scabs caused scaring that required plastic surgery.  I was very fortuanate, however. The consequences could have been much worse!

Coach Mongero was almost killed many times in his youth do to "freak" accidents. Read his account of his journey to find the answers to life's toughest question! 

Do You Know “Him”? 

One thing that has always bothered me in life is a dramatization of real events to make someone’s story more exciting or impacting. A true story is either really true or it is not true. Everything I will share with you about my testimony is true. The cold hard facts. Even the things that seem unbelievable are true down to the exact detail. 

I spent all of my youth, teenage years, and early adult life searching for answers to the true “meaning of life” but never found it. I was from an un-churched family. In spite of this, God was working in my life. All I wanted to do was play football, basketball, and baseball. He had bigger plans for my life and he reached down and spared me from tragedy many times. 

There have been a handful of times where I could have, and probably should have died! He saw me through all of these experiences and gave me a chance to live so I could tell others about him. My first near death experience was when I was in elementary school. We were on the way home from the Bronx Zoo. I was packed with a bunch of children in a 1970’s station wagon. We were traveling with traffic on the Bronx River Parkway, when the car’s steering column broke and the car’s accelerator stuck to the floor. The driver had no control of the automobile! We all thought it was a joke at first but as the car swerved from side to side, we all became very frightened. When the car came to a abrupt halt we were half emerged in the Bronx River. We had jumped the guard rail completely, just missed a tree, ran down the bank, and the front end submerged into the river. Miraculously no one was killed. I was one of two children that were taken to the hospital. I was released after one night with deep bone bruises and a concussion. I was playing sports a few days later. 

In sixth grade, a friend and I were riding bikes down a long, very steep hill, into town. The bike was a one speed “Bicentennial” girl’s model. It was my sisters. The only breaks the bike had were foot brakes. We headed down the hill full speed, racing to see just how fast we could go. It was very important that we start slowing down in plenty of time because busy high way 118 intersected at the end of the road. As I went to pedal backward to slow the bike, the chain came off. I had no way to stop! The result of that realization still gives me cold chills. I headed towards 118 very quickly and thoughts of ditching the bike flashed in my head. Before I could make a conscious choice I was out in the middle of the highway. As unbelievable as this may seem, it is the truth. When I crossed the double yellow lines in the middle of the highway, to the sound of car horns, there was a passing car on one side of me and the other. They continued on, not having time to brake, and I continued across the highway safely down into the shopping center parking lot, eventually coming to a halt as the road leveled out. There must have been angels on my shoulders! I was playing sports that afternoon. 

In the fall of my seventh grade year, my friend and I were riding bike around town (the same bike that had almost killed me a year before) and jumping off steps at the end of side walks. This soon became boring and we sought more challenging obstacles. There was a steep dirt mound that would throw us very high into the air, across the street from where my mother, father and Grandmother worked. We started jumping the steep hill and I became more confident after each attempt. Before long I was showing off and decided that I was going to get a very big approach to the jump. I would take off like “Evel Knievel” (the famous Motorcycle Jumper of my generation) high into the air and land as I had on the previous attempts. I peddled furiously towards the jump and one of my friends watching yelled “you’re going to kill yourself.” When I hit the jump (with a “Sugar Daddy” candy bar sticking out of my mouth) I forgot to pull back on the handlebars. That’s the last thing I remember! I laid on the gravel-pavement surface lifeless. I faded in and out of consciousness until I came out of shock in the ambulance. On the way to the hospital the nurse picked gravel out of my face. When I tried to speak I felt no teeth at the top of my mouth and I was swallowing and choking up blood (See photo at top of this page). The nurse told me I was very lucky that I did not break my neck and I had only knocked out my two front teeth. She did not share with me how bad the lacerations were to my face and mouth. I was released form the hospital that night and quarterbacked our team to the Recreational league championship just two weeks later. 

The summer going into my ninth grade year, my parents had separated and I was visiting my mother with a friend of mine. We decided to go swimming. We raced to the pool in an attempt to be first to hit the water. We ran through the back trails and reached the pool close to a tie and it was going to be close as to who would be the winner. I knew my shorts did not have a draw string to hold them up so as I went to dive into the deep end, I grabbed my shorts with both hands. I dove straight down. My face immediately slammed into the bottom of the shallow end of the pool. I quickly became numb from head to toe. I tried to make sense of what had just happened as I slowly rose to the top of the water. The life guard dove in and assisted me to the side of the pool instructing me not to move. My face was bleeding and the skin was scraped completely off my nose. I was able to climb out of the pool with help. The life guard thought I may have broken my neck. I was playing baseball a few days later. 

I made it thorough high school and college mostly unscathed. Some close calls driving from New York to Florida and New York to North Carolina, but nothing that sent me to the hospital. I dodged on coming traffic a few times, from others falling asleep at the wheel, and I was held at knife point in N.Y. City parking lot, but that’s all. My search for answers to life’s deepest questions continued and intensified through college. I spent many nights up late with my roommates talking about life’s meaning and personal dreams. I had many athletic goals and I was able to reach all of them except making it to the major leagues. I know now that was not in “His” plans. Coaching and mentoring young people was. 

I was released from the Atlanta Braves in the winter of 1990. I was lost and for the fist time in my life there would be no baseball in the spring. What would I do? What would I become? I had lost my identity as a person, the essence of who I was. I had geared my whole life towards making it to the Major Leagues. I decided to go back to school to become a teacher so I could coach the game I loved and give back to others what I was given as a player. I volunteered at Laney High School as a varsity assistant baseball coach that spring. 

The summer of 1994 I was indirectly struck by lightning in my home in Wilmington, N.C. A massive thunderstorm rolled in black off the Cape Fear River. I decided to do some laundry to pass time. I leaned up against the dryer, reaching for the detergent, when a bolt of lightning hit a tree in my front yard. I was jolted backwards as a flash of light and a deafening boom occurred before I hit the ground on my back. I laid there wondering if I was alive and if my heart had stopped. I was okay. I was coaching American Legion baseball the next day. 

At nights I started reading and studying the Bible. I was invited by a friend to church in the fall of 1994. I went every weekend and learned much about God. I was finally getting real answers to my questions about the true meaning of life. In the spring of 1995 I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior! That same spring I met my wife, who I casually had asked out two years earlier and was flat denied. I never saw her again for those two years. She was a Christian and in God’s timing he crossed our paths again when the bond could last forever. Many times we can’t figure out God’s ways, and true to form he had us meet again, this time through a blind date. We were married within a year! 

Also in the spring of 1995, I became the head baseball coach at E.A. Laney H.S. We were in a very tough 4A baseball conference that had the Nations #1 H.S. baseball team. The consensus of many people when I was hired was “he is too young to be the head coach at such a big school.” We finished tied for first that year and we beat the #1 team in the Nation. Every year since 1995 has been a joy as I have been able to meet, teach and mentor some really fine young men as their baseball coach. I have always tried to teach my players the finer points about the game of baseball and the game of life. 

In my life I have been able to reach most of my athletic goals, marry the love of my life and witness the birth of both of my children (the true miracle of life). He also inspired me to write this baseball manual that encompasses my life work as a player, coach and an associate scout. I give Him all the honor and glory. I’m sure many people doubt and question the existence of a loving God. My experiences prove to me that he indeed exists and he wants all people to come to this life changing realization. 

I have spent the last 12 years growing in my walk with Him. I’m not perfect and I slip at times, but I always have a forgiving father if I’m sincere in asking. I hope that if you have questions about faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that you visit Billy read your Bible for answers. What I have found out is that life is not about religion, but rather a relationship with a Holy God. We all are sinners in need of a savior. The church is filled with imperfect people, so don’t look to them for answers or even to be your godly example. Man will always let you down, but God promises "never to leave you or forsake you" if you are a child of his. In the end it all boils down to wins and losses; not baseball games, but souls! God bless you in your personal search for answers and in your walk in life. Don't hesitate to use "God's Game Plan" the Bible for your answers. 

In His Service, 
Trent Mongero