SHOUT OUT to Fastpitch Pitchers
My daughters pitch. I have spent endless time watching them throw that stupid, relentless optic yellow (although I still think its green) ball, trying to accurately hit what seems like a tiny target, to hear an umpire yell, “Strike!” For this reason, I love those umps that can get into the spirit of the game, even though they have umpired umpteen games that day, to almost explode behind the plate as they call the pitches.
The more I watch girls pitch, the more I realize just how tough that positiion is. It is at least 80% mental. If you let the opposite dugout get into your head, struggle with fake bunts or batters who purposely shuffle as you are about to release, or listen to your parents in the stand – you can pretty much count yourself out. No, pitchers have to be able to ignore the unignorable. They have to be able to stand up for themselves, for their entire team lest they break down smack dab in the middle of the field. This takes a certain sense of competitiveness (combined with meanness) dedication, drive and certainly a healthy dose of ego.
Not only that, when most pitchers come out of their stride, they are standing around 30 feet from the end of some hyper bat, and are potentially at the receicing end of the point where a little green ball meets its designated point of inertia. Its difficult for most people to switch gears from throwing to possibly catching…and then to making a play, in a sheer 1/4 seconds.
If that doesnt say enough about pitchers, the fact that they have to practice ALOT, to even be considered good, should take the cake. These girls arent like the other girls who can simply show up for practice, and then saunter home leaving their cleats in their batbag till next time. No, they have to continue to practice if they want to excel. Pitching takes time to develop, but it takes no time to lose the skill. Take a few weeks, or a month off – and many pitchers feel like they are having to start over again. While it might be easier the second go round, it still takes an amazing amount of perseverance.
Fastpitch pitchers are amazing creatures. They really are. They are brave, and smart, and are somehow connected to the softballs they throw with an imaginary string thatr makes them ‘feel’ responsible for the base hit or homerun. In their mind, while they agree they couldnt play without all the girls behind them – they also feel alot of responsibility for the numbers reflected on the scoreboard, which are so often a direct result of how well they are pitching!
So, lets take a minute and thank a pitcher. For being brave enough to stand in, and for being so passionate about the game that they are willing to stand in that circle in the first place.