My Daughter Plays Softball (AND She’s Terrible!)
SIFG prides itself on respecting and empowering ALL the players of fastpitch! We realize the varied levels that are out there, and for some reason there is often a wave of judgment that seems to exist in regard to those different levels of play. Select, elite, Gold, A, showcase (whatever word used in your area) players and parents often feel superior to those that are playing local, rec, B or C, copper (or whatever word is used in your area) Many times, the girls that just play for the fun of the game, who don’t take lessons, who show up for an hour to run around and play with their friends are not seen as “real ball players,” by others. And, we know first hand that this competition and “I play on a better team than you do” or “OH, you only play rec ball” is played out in schools.
We received this the other day, and asked for permission to share. We think it’s a great reminder that SOFTBALL, and the LOVE of SOFTBALL, is what counts – and even though our degree of competition, and chosen paths may be different – we do share some common ground. Here goes….
My Daughter Plays SOFTBALL
My daughter came home from school the other day talking about how Suzie Showcase plays on an elite ball team in the big city and gets to go on overnight trips all over the country. My daughter plays softball too. She is 13, and started playing in the dirt just last spring season. Apparently Suzie Showcase schooled my daughter on what it takes to be an elite player, and let her know that at the ripe old age of 13, she was already being recruited for college across this great country. I know Suzie’s parents, and its all likely true. Suzie practices and trains at least 4 times per week year round, and her weekends are filled tournaments near and far. She lives an exciting life that Suzie. A life that I had hoped and dreamed my daughter would have after playing ball myself and making it to the minor leagues.
The thing is, my daughter sucks. (Excuse my language) But she does. She can barely catch, complains about the heat in the summer time and there is nearly nothing, and I mean nothing that would motivate her to get up on a Saturday morning to play softball. My daughter can barely catch a ball, and the bruises on her forearms and legs and hips and shoulders are proof of that. She also doesn’t throw very well. Sometimes, when she’s throwing with a girl who has a cannon, she just moves out-of-the-way from the ball coming at her. (DO you know how frustrating that is to watch?)
Now before you tell me to get her in lessons, to get her training, know that I HAVE TRIED everything to improve her game. And, for sure she has made small improvements. She finally knows where to throw the ball playing infield, and has even been able to hit off a live pitcher (when she wasn’t getting walked by a rec ball pitcher). It was MY DREAM that my daughter would play ball, just like Suzie Showcase does. I never thought my own flesh and blood would be terrible at it. But she is.
For a long time, I had a hard time accepting that. I would say stupid things, and force her into the yard to catch and throw and hit.
I even said more than once “IF you aren’t going to play this game right, or well – why even bother?” And this is where it gets real. Her answer. “BECAUSE DADDY, I LOVE TO PLAY!”
Loving to play something you are not good at is not something I understood.At first. I mean, why bother – why waste your time, right? If everyone is better than you what the heck is the point?
Finally after some stern talking from my wife, I remembered back to my own childhood, and all the things I did that I wasn’t good at, but loved to do anyways. Fore instance, I loved to fish, although I don’t think I have caught 3 fish in my entire life. But I wanted to be out there on the water with my friends, and throw a pole in the water, and play the part of fisherman. I remember one time when I was 12, my buddies caught me throwing a rod in the water without bait, and they rode me all the way to high school about it, even gave me a nickname. I was too lazy, and unskilled at fishing to know how to do it well. Thing was, I had fun. I called myself a fisherman, and would go home in the evening and brag about how I fished to my parents and siblings and friends and girls. My daughter plays softball just like I fished.
Last week, she asked me if she could buy one of your shirts. And, at first I was like “Why do you want a shirt, you don’t play real softball, wont people like Suzie Showcase laugh at you if you wear it to school?” I mean seriously, she goes to practice for 75 minutes one night per week with a volunteer dad coach, and has maybe 1-2 games per week. Softball is For Girls shirts are for SOFTBALL PLAYERS. For bombers. Ya know, for SUZIE SHOWCASE!
She looked at me like my head was on fire and she said, “Daddy, I LOVE playing SOFTBALL, and I have fun. I might not be the greatest but I am still a softball player. I mean why else do you think I go out there and wear those awful cleats that hurt my feet. Gawd dad?”
Then I remembered fishing. And I remembered that I had a fishing hat, that I wore often. I was proud of that hat, even though I stunk at fishing. Baseball was my thing. Then, I ordered her a shirt! 🙂
Today, I just want to take a minute and thank you. Thank you for making my daughter feel welcome in your community. She follows you on Instagram and Pinterest too. For noticing that while not everyone can be, or is, or will be a superstar as I had hoped and imagined my daughter would be at the softball field, they are still softball players. Your page is softball is for girls. It doesnt just say softball is for talented girls. They are having fun. They are learning, and growing with their friends, competing, celebrating wins and grieving losses, and MOST IMPORTANTLY they consider themselves serious ballers. (Do softball people even use that word)
Therefore instead of being disappointed that my daughter is not Suzie Showcase, I realize that she is nothing short of my favorite softball player. A BEAST! (Who thinks cleats were invented as a form of torture!)
PS- this doesn’t mean I will stop biting my nails, my tongue, or feeling extremely frustrated everytime she ENTIRELY misses a ball in the outfield. 🙂
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I know my girls will never be recruited by college programs, and because we don’t do much travel ball they will be excluded from the high school team, they don’t care. They love to play the game. For the first time in 5 years my daughter isn’t on a team during the off season. Her coach decided to take a break, the league she plays in stops at 12U so she is too old for it now. We have a local league we are exploring that sounds very promising, but they don’t start practicing till spring. My daughter is going nuts! She misses practice and the team. We’ve been sending her to practice with her sister since they were playing fall ball. They are taking a bit of time off so that is done for a month or so. Our girls aren’t elite, they are decent ball players, but they will never play except for fun. And that is okay with me. I just wish there were more options for girls like these. They deserve a chance to play as well, but in our area, if you aren’t a tournament team, travel ball elite player, the options are disappearing. Keep reminding us that softball is for fun and for all girls who love the game!
Than you for sharing this story!
My daughter plays 8U rec ball as a catcher and is an average player that misses a lot of the inside pitches. We have done the lessons and she has gotten better but still is just average. As you have stated, I too get frustrated ( I also coach ) at the missed balls and lack of hustle sometimes , but she does love playing. Your story gives me a moment of pause , and reminds me that it’s NOT about ability but the enjoyment of the game.
Thank you for giving me a little perspective and thought on how I will be coaching and enjoying the fact that my little slugger loves the game for what it is, A GAME.
Thank you for sharing this! My daughter is 9 years old and just moved up to fast pitch this fall. She could easily be the girl in this story – she steps out of the way or backs up when she’s just throwing with her teammates during warm-ups, much less during a game. But she LOVES to play, and I love to watch the smile on her face when she comes off the field after the games. THAT is what it’s all about for me.
I think most kids are supposed to suck at sports. Somehow we’ve all been taught to think otherwise.
Why not do something she wants to do? Sounds like she’d like that.
I read this actually because I am a softball player, but not a very good one. My story is the absolute opposite of this. I am terrible at softball, and I wish I didn’t have to play but my mother played when she was my age and wants me to make the high school team. It won’t happen, though, because I started in 7th grade and don’t really love the sport. It’s just…okay. My mom keeps telling me to practice, and I try to, but I have nobody to practice with. She says to practice with my sisters but when I ask and then beg, my mom tells me to stop making them do something they don’t want to. My sisters are bad at softball as well and should be practicing. My mother won’t practice with me because she is too busy all the time with my sibling and her job. She never has time for me. And now softball has become something I dread because the other girls don’t like me because I’m really bad.