My Daughter is a Pitcher

The Parent PITCHER SHIRT is BACK FOR FALL!

My daughter is a pitcher, and I couldn’t be more proud of her!

 

pitcher

I have watched the hours and hours that she has put in outside of practice. Out in the yard, hacking it out with a pitching rubber while her dad sat on a bucket. At lessons, being tweaked and challenged, and learning and re-learning weeks at a time. The daily workout that she does to make her legs and core stronger, in order to stay in shape and keep on improving. Pitching is not something you do well, on a whim. When other teammates get a day off, a pitcher is still pitching – trying to perfect and improve her game.

I have sat behind the fence and watched games where she pitched with poise and composure, like nothing less than a champion. On those days, being the mom of a pitcher is easy – and seeing her hard work pay off is satisfying beyond belief.

I have also sat behind the fence and literally ENDURED games where it seems my daughters emotions got the best of her. During those games – the ones dripping with emotion, where nothing seems to be working, it takes a great deal of restraint to keep me from running on the field and saving her. Shielding her from the wilted shoulders on the sidelines, the jeers from the opposing team, the lowered eyes of her coaches and teammates when she walks in a run. It takes a tremendous effort to not bum-rush the umpires for not ‘giving’ her a strike, for missing the fact that she painted the black with her curve ball, to not be angry that they are trying to force my daughter to throw straight down the middle of the plate – tossing a ‘can of corn,’ that will no doubt be taken deep by a batter.

I want to scream to everyone around me collectively sighing and losing faith in the little girl that I love – everyone that seems so obviously disappointed when my daughter is struggling (whose daughters do NOT pitch),

“Do you have any idea how hard she works, how much time she puts in, how much she strives to be good, how HARD this pitching gig really is?” “Could YOUR daughter do it?” “Do you not realize that she is just a young girl trying her best out there?”

But mostly, I just want to save my daughter. To protect her. And yet, all I know that I can do – is be the person back there who still believes in her no matter what.

Maybe you can’t see it, but when things aren’t going well in the circle, I see the pain in her eyes. I see the tears she is holding back. I recognize the twitches of discomfort, embarrassment and frustration. I feel the thoughts in her head that are thinking maybe she isn’t good enough, maybe all the hours she has put in were for nothing. I recognize her disappointment, see her searching for one soft place to land her eyes. It’s a painful thing to sit back and simply watch your daughter in pain or distress. And yet, it is part of the gig when your daughter is a pitcher.

When my daughter pitches, I watch her feet. I notice her release point. I pay attention to her shoulders, her stride, her snap. I try to shout out the bits of advice that her pitching coach gives her, the little things that seem to be able to tie the larger picture of pitching altogether. Every tournament day, I toss away fearful thoughts about her being it with a line drive, look up to the sky and give a little prayer for her safety. And another prayer that her pitches work, and that she is able to somehow fool or upset the timing of the offense she is about to face. It is my job to sit there and just let it all happen!

Since my daughter and the catcher are the two that ACTUALLY TOUCH the ball more than anyone else on the field – their mistakes seem so much more evident than the ground ball the short stop let go between her legs. Trust me, I hear the sighs. On bad days, I hear other parents whispering, “WHEN are they going to pull her?” Or the fans who say, “Oh my god – another walk!”

And, on good days, I hear the crowd cheering her on, shouting ‘good pitch,’ and woo-hooing loudly when she strikes people out, or fools them with her change-up. I sense the feelings of pride and accomplishment that she feels, the gratification that her hard work is paying off.

As her mother, I am acutely aware that so many eyes are upon her. And I wonder inwardly – how in the world she withstands that kind of pressure. It makes my heart well up with pride, to see my little girl – handling so much pressure so well. While just yesterday she was holding my hand to steady her feet when she walked – today she is standing in the middle of a softball field, prepared to show hundreds of people what it is she does on her ‘off days.’ Putting herself out there, risking it all for the sake of a game she loves, and teammates that she wants to do well for.

My daughter is a pitcher, and I couldn’t be more proud of her!

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