There. I said it. Or wrote it. Ok, typed it.
My daughter plays softball almost every weekend of her life and she doesn’t want to play in college. But She’s STILL a SOFTBALL PLAYER! She’s just as gritty, her socks stink just as much, she practices just as hard and she LOVES the game just as much as so many other girls.
I know what you are thinking. “Oh, here’s a mom that says her daughter doesn’t want to play in college because she sucks, so she’s just letting her down easy. But nope. Nope. That’s not it.
She’s a great softball player. I guarantee if given the chance any coach would want her keeping up with centerfield and batting leadoff on their team.
Like so many of you reading this, we started young and have been all over the place dragging buckets. We’ve dropped more than a sack of dimes on lessons. For a while, she even played on one of the most high profile travel teams in our area.
And then one day, she just fessed up. She loves the game, she loves to compete, she loves everything about softball – but she doesn’t really care or necessarily want to play once she ages out. She also is fine with playing on a team with her friends that plays more local.
When she dropped that little bombshell, I was taken aback. She was 16, and I figured that she probably just had no idea what she really wanted. But then I realized that playing collegiately sort of just takes on a life of its own when you are in a sport.
It’s as if we HAVE to be playing for a bigger reason, right? We have to be doing something that promotes our daughter’s future success, or all this time and money is just wasted, right? I mean what praytell is the point of just playing a game or sport if there isn’t some BIGGER PLAN?????
Showcases and big money ball and travel and college talk just seem to naturally integrate the softball field chatter. Like, “oh she’s so good, where does she want to play in college?” So we all go along with it.
Asking a 14-year-old if they want to play softball in college is a pretty stupid question when you really think about it. And this isn’t to say that many young girls KNOW exactly what they want – because many do, but the reality is that their frontal lobe isn’t even developed yet, they can barely match socks at times or figure out what to eat at a restaurant. Playing softball in college to ‘them’ is being one of the teams in the WCWS.
And the reality is we never really ASKED her, we just assumed since she went along with it all – and she just went along with it all because she just assumed her dad and I knew what the hell we were doing.
The funny thing is with kids that things change! And they change fast. Your child is different at `10 than she was at 8, and is different at 14 than she was at 10, and way different at 17 than she was even at 15.
And the even funnier thing is, that we all sort of just assume that we know what our kids want and it becomes what WE want, and our kids just want to please us and MOSTLY THEY JUST WANT TO PLAY BALL!
The other thing that I feel is important to mention is that so many of seem to somehow measure our parenting success by the level of play, or team that our daughter plays on. We feel guilty if we dont go all out, whether we can afford it or not. It’s like a silent competition that we get wrapped up in. And so naturally, the future of our daughters is a competition too. Instead of just cheering each other on, we get fueled up by the fact that Suzy is going to Alabama and our daughter is looking D3…. We measure OUR success by it. Or we bow up and strut around talking about how our daughter is going to play for FLORIDA GATORS….
Anyhoo….my daughter doesn’t want to play in college.
She just doesn’t.
But she DOES want to play ball. And even though we play almost every weekend now (on Saturdays only), and we have zero plans to fly out to Colorado to be part of that money grab this year, and even though her uniform might look a little plain to you….she is still ONE HELL OF AN ATHLETE.
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She is still a softball player. (A pretty badass one at that) She's just a softball player that doesn't want to play in college. And you know what? That is OK.