Fan Share Friday – Dani’s Story
We received an email from a young fan, who wanted to share her story with us, but made us double pinky swear PROMISE not to disclose who she was. Names and locations have obviously been changed, and some minor editing has been done on this post (although shes a fantastic writer and must excel in school) We are THANKFUL that she chose to share this with us. Could this be YOUR daughter?
Remember, you can submit your story via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inspirational, funny, a life lesson – whatever you wish, softball related or otherwise.
My name is Dani. I am a 14, soon to be 15 year high school freshman. I am softball player. I have been playing since I was a little girl. There are two things I want you to know. One is I that i totally, 100% LOVE softball. And the other is that I have the best parents in the entire world. Okay?
Liek I said I have been playing since I was 6. I got really good, really fast and became one of the best in our age group. My parents saw my talent and by the age of 9, decided I needed training and a travel team, and more training. So I left my friends and went to play for a travel team about an hour away from my house. As the seasons went by, my parents continued to find me better teams, and hitting coaches and enrolled me in every camp they could find. My 12U season was amazing, and all these people started talking about how good I was, and every time we went to play a tournament, I had coaches trying to recruit me.
All that was great, but the problem was (is) that I just loved playing softball. My mom and dad would sit at the kitchen table, and check the internet while I was watching TV and constantly talk about this team or that team, or this coach or that coach. Even when they asked me what I wanted or what I thought, I knew what they wanted me to want and wanted me to think. And it’s really hard to disappoint parents I love, who are always investing so much time and money into me. But sometimes I think, “hey – I am not even 15 yet.”
They started always talking about opportunities, and my future, and much to my surprise because I was just in middle school, college. I was 12, so I didn’t think much about that. My older brother is a college athlete and got a scholarship and is an incredible athlete, so I guess my parents just want the same for me.
During my 8th grade year, I was taken to every camp that was put on by a college within a 200 mile radius of my home town. I have been to every showcase they could put me in. I have played on 4-5 teams in the past two years, always getting on one that one-ups the other. Its like there is always something better for my future, so we make another switch. I have a long list of CAN’T DO’s so I don’t mess up my entire future.
This year, my freshman year in high school, my parents aren’t allowing me to play school ball, with my friends, and for my school, because my travel team will not allow it.
The problem is that although I know my mom and dad are doing whats best for me, my softball ‘career’ has sort of taken over THEIR LIFE. We never go to the beach. We never take vacations. I never get to hang out on the weekends with my friends. Everything we do is for ME, and for softball, and for me getting a scholarship into college.
Do I want to play in college? Sure. I want to play as much as possible. I would love to play with my friends from high school on their travel team. But I don’t know what I want to do as a career, and I don’t think that I am as good as I was when I was younger anymore. I am tired of going to camps. And I am REALLY tired of being told what to say, how to act, and constantly being told how to do things.
When I meet a new coach, or new softball person, I don’t even feel like me. I smile and nod and say yes sir and yes ma’am and tell them all the things my parents tell me to say. We have an entire script worked out based on what recruiting people have told my parents that works. I will be honest, I sometimes think that college coaches HAVE to KNOW that we are just butt kissing. And, I think I have a ton of good qualities, that are real, that would make me an asset to any team. Don’t they want to know my funny, sometimes sarcastic personality as well?
Even on the field, I am always being a ‘supportive’ coachable respectable teammate. I am not allowed to show frustration, have to hold in emotions when I Play. And some days the game feels emotionless, almost like I am in a theater play. When I tell my teammate to keep their head up, or pat them on the back after an error and smile and laugh – I don’t even know if it’s really me saying that or if it’s just my conditioning ‘to get recruited.’ Because sometimes I just wanna be mad at my teammate who dropped a perfectly thrown ball. And sometimes I want to be able to hate striking out. And sometimes I want to skip practice or hitting lessons to go roller skating. But when you are competing for a scholarship, that is not an option.
But mostly, I just want to play ball.
There is no way for me to tell my parents to chill out, or back off – because they put so much energy into this. When they talk about my softball career, they are soooooo happy. I do not want to be the one to let them down, so even if they ask me for my opinion I don’t always (okay never) tell the truth. All I know, is that I have to get into a college program. And chances are I will, because I am good enough and because my parents are working so hard and meeting the right people and everyone says it’s about who you know. And they are taking me everywhere in the world to be seen even though I really don’t want to move far away from home.
I guess I just wish it was my dream rather than their dream.
My best friend and I met when we were 7 on a softball team. She has played on the same team for 3 years, and the truth is I am jealous about how much fun she has. I pick up with them from time to time, and the whole team feels like a family. My parents think the team is beneath me, they say I am an “ELITE PLAYER” and that my friends would kill to be where I am. But I would kill to play with my friends and most of them are just as good as I am, some are even better. To play softball without it always being about college and the future and the coaches and who is watching blah blah blah.
Sometimes, I feel like my parents have become addicted to my softball life. It’s totally taken over.
I really hope I don’t sound like a spoiled brat, because I work really really hard. And I know one day I will probably look back and thank them for everything. I just hope I don’t look back and wish I had spoken up. I have heard enough lectures to know that my future is really important. But sometimes I wonder about my right now, which I know is a bad thing to do if you want to get somewhere in life.
Again, I love my parents, and love softball. I just don’t want to let them down. I thought maybe sharing this might help out another girl, or maybe my parents might read it.
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