Addie | The Girl Who Forgot How to Pitch
If you have followed my story so far, thank you. It probably seems dramatic, and you might be thinking that I was just being a drama queen. If you missed Parts 1-4, you can find them on the Softball is For Girls facebook page. Part 1 is here. https://www.facebook.com/SOFTBALLISFORGIRLS1/videos/3085820161711002/
My parents had invested quite a bit in my pitching career. Not just money but time and travels all over the country. I was the starting pitcher for my team – and they needed me. It didn’t take long before the adults in my life grew tired of whatever it was that was happening to me. At first, everyone was fine with me playing other positions and vowed to give me time to work through whatever it was that happened to me. And then, it turned to impatience, frustration and aggravation. I remember one evening my parents were trying to make a break through, and ended up telling me I looked weak, and pathetic – and throwing up all the time and money they spent on me, ending with the fact that I was about to be kicked off my teams!
It had been a few months by this point, and I still couldn’t get it together. Coaches, sports therapists, and more neurological tests didn’t seem to help with a solution.
In my mind, I could no longer remember how to pitch. So, even when I tried – the ball would come out of my hand as if I had never pitched a day in my life. Breathe. Focus. Relax. Don’t think. See it in your Head. Visualize. You can do this. All the things were said to me.
I know everyone was trying, but it wasn’t happening for me. It wasn’t fake, or drama. It was just a totally weird, scary, and troubling feeling that I could not seem to rise above.
Eventually, everyone gave up on me. It was just whatever, and I could feel how resentful everyone around me felt. Like, just go do your job already, enough is enough. Softball ended for me.
Eventually a few years later – after I graduated and during my exams at college, the same thing was happening to me in regard to my studies. I saw a school counselor privately. After a lot of talking, some hypnosis and some digging – it was realized that I was having a stress reaction. The pressure of college exams was causing dissociative amnesia.
It was then I figured out what possibly happened back when I was playing elite travel softball.
Dissociative ambnesia. A defense mechanism of the brain to help protect us from immense stress and pressure.
So, why I share my story is because I want other people – the non-players (parent, coaches) to know how much pressure can be on the players from a young age. Especially when they are very talented. I was always heralded for doing so good under pressure, it was one of my gifts. And, I loved the game more than anything in the world. I loved to pitch more than anything in the world. But there was also an immense amount of pressure on me. Fear of losing a game, of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing people. Fear of someone replacing me. Fear of not being validated by making it to a D1 college. Fear of being useless if I couldn’t pitch. So much fear that I never really digested or realized.
Fear of being useless if I couldn’t pitch…Read that again.
I was a pitcher, it was who I was, and if something went wrong with that, I had internally convinced myself that I was worthless, invaluable, and would be discarded like trash.
And that my friends, can work on a person. After months and years and more years and months of this pressure – I guess my mind just caved…
So…remember its just a game. And please, whatever you do – make sure the girls that play for you and with you know that if they were to take of their jersey tomorrow, or never be able to perform again – that they are still worth something.