Obviously, we talk a lot about hitting stances, and proper mechanics and recruiting and winning and losing and all the fun and games and stress and excitement that comes along with playing fastpitch softball.
We don’t care, have never cared what level of ball you play. That is not our journey. We have the same respect for the girls playing Rec, as the ones we see making the Top 10 list at Extra Inning Softball weekly polls. In our eyes, they are all following the same dreams, experiencing the same feelings, and loving the same things. Which makes us much more alike than different.
What we don’t talk about enough, is what happens outside the foul lines. So many of the lessons you are learning between the foul lines, are the building blocks that create confident, strong, smart, amazing and successful young women once the foul lines have been erased and your time is done crossing them.
For instance, each time you build a team mate up, pat them on the back after an error, or find the empathy to realize that they aren’t having their best days – you have begun the road of lifting other women up, rather than tearing them down. Of the sisterhood.
Each time you ‘fail’ at the plate, and realize that you will strike out, or not get on base more times than you will hit a home run or land a double – you realize that life is really about balancing our successes and failures, and not letting our failures define us, or cage us in. Softball, especially hitting – teaches us that we don’t have to be perfect to be great.
Softball shows you that your attitude MATTERS. It matters to the people that love you, it matters to your team, it matters to your performance, it matters in the way others perceive you. And the VERY BEST part is that as you get older, you realize that you do in fact have all the control over YOUR attitude. You have a choice, to roll your eyes, or slam you bat on the ground, or cuss as you walk back to the dugout – or to learn from it, walk away unscathed knowing you will and can do better next time. Either way, your attitude about it MATTERS, and it can be the difference between success and failure, and it affects everyone around you. So just as you don’t want to let your teammates down by being a Debbie Downer, you don’t want your attitude to let yourself down in all your future endeavors.
Everything worth having takes work. Skip practice, stop going to lessons, get tired of taking ground balls at practice – and it will show on the field. The same is true with everything else in your life. It takes hard work, and commitment, and practice and focus to accomplish your goals. It doesn’t matter if you are sick to death of hitting off a tee, or studying biology, or doing the dishes – work hard at every task given and your work ethic in life will take you far.
You are never too good to shag balls and put them back in the bucket. Ever. We don’t care if you are the star pitcher, the senior on the team, the coaches kid, the best hitter, or the team captain. You are never too good to pick up the balls and help put them back in the bucket. Life will hand you moments where you can either decide you are ‘too good for this’ or whether you decide that everyone around you is your equal and responsible for pulling their weight no matter what their title. The best bosses still make the office coffee in the mornings.
Inside the foul lines your role may change. As you grow up, and move forward in your life your role will also change. You will become many things, different things to many people in many places. So flexibility is your friend. If you snuff your nose up because you are asked to play outfield and stand there with your glove on your hip, feeling entitled. then life outside the foul lines will be difficult. All new things are opportunities.
You won’t like all your teammates. They won’t all be your best friends. And you know what, that’s ok! But they are your teammates, and respect for others is essential unless you want to be one of the problems your team faces during games inside the foul lines. And outside the foul lines, the same holds true. You dont have to like everyone. You dont have to agree with everyone, or rub shoulders with everyone. AND WE PROMISE YOU, NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOU, AND THAT IS OK! But you do owe others respect.
Speaking of people. We ask each girl to take a look around them on game day. Look at all the people who are there supporting you. Realize how hard people are working to make sure you can play. Thank your parents, be kind to the umpires, respect your coaches, treat the concession stand workers nicely, clean up after yourself. All these people, no matter what color jersey they are wearing, or what happens during the game are on your side. These people – they MATTER. And it matters that you show gratitude for them, and notice them. These are the people in your village, the people cheering you on, the people who want the best for you. How YOU treat these people says quite a lot about your character. And long after you step outside the dugout for the last time, these are the people who will still be there cheering you on….treat them accordingly.