An Open Letter to Those NOT Signing ON Signing Day
For those of us in the softball community, softball is a blaze with pictures of smiling senior softball players sitting down with their high school coaches and proud parents – signing their way into their collegiate softball career.
In the beginning, getting to THAT coveted place, seems like such a far away dream. So much hard work, money, planning, and stress from both parents and players goes into the fulfilling of this dream. In fact, through the years the idea of ‘getting to play softball in college’ sort of takes on a life of its own for many girls and their parents, the days of playing the game for just the simple love and passion get lost along the way. There is now a drive, a pressure, a certain level of expectation and urgency to the game of softball.
And then comes signing day. And it is all worth it.
We, at SIFG would like to congratulate ALL of the girls who will be taking their softball careers to the next level.
We hope and pray that you continue to love the game, and that no matter what – your passion shines through on the field. You are lucky and blessed – and we hope you always remember what it took (and all the people who helped you) get to this day – sitting down with a college coach and putting your signature on perhaps the first real document that matters in your young life. And we also hope that you will always remember the little girl in your heart, who picked up a ball and put her glove on backwards and stuck out more than she hit! We hope you stay humble and hardworking.
We also want to address the hundreds of thousands of softball playing seniors who are not signing. For whatever reason.
We know first hand that it is not always the BEST or most talented players that get signed to a college. We know that some parents work harder at the ‘game’ of recruiting and have more money than others to spend, or happen to know the ‘right’ people in the softball political world to help get them to the next level.
And most importantly, we know that while you may be happy for your friends signing away, you may also have feelings that just maybe you aren’t good enough. You may feel slight pangs of jealousy, which is completely normal. You may wonder what all of those years playing and hacking it out on the dirt were for – if for whatever reason, you aren’t going to play in college. You may ask why so and so, who is not any better than you got a college to take her, while you didn’t. You may question your decisions, the hours of practice and lessons, and feel tinges of frustration.
What we want you to know, FIRST & FOREMOST, is that you have not wasted your time all these years.
It may not feel like it, but you have learned and grown more being rooted in brick dust than you will ever be able to realize right now. All of it matters. All of it has made you the amazing PERSON that you are. You will look back with pride and accomplishment and be full of happy memories and gratitude for all you have gained through softball. And at the end of the day….it is the PERSON, not the softball player – that will get you the furthest in life.
We want you to know that your days of playing do not have to end here. You can continue to play. And if playing in college is a dream of yours, you do NOT have to give it up at 17 or 18 years old. You can still go to college tryouts. You can still play travel, and go to lessons and continue to better yourselves. You can still email coaches and show off your talents. Don’t give up!
What you may not realize, is that many of these girls signing to colleges, are getting very little money toward their academic endeavors to play softball. There are very few ‘full rides’ unless you are an absolute phenom. And there are still colleges, there are always colleges looking for talent.
We want you to know that your dream and passion do not have to end. That you haven’t failed. That mom and dad haven’t failed to do a ‘good enough’ job getting you seen. You are still so young, and there is still so much that you can do with this game, and that the game can do for you. We hope that you never give up, that you also remember the little girl in your heart, who picked up a ball and put her glove on backwards and stuck out more than she hit! We hope and pray that you keep your dreams alive, and that you realize that THIS place where you are right now, is in no way – shape or form – the end of the road for you. In fact, it is just a beginning.
You decide when the dream ends, and YOU and YOU alone get to decide what to do with all the passion for the game of softball that lives inside you. You have the power within yourself to achieve and do whatever you want to in life – softball related and otherwise! So dream on girls.