Softball Beauties & BrickDust
You notice a lot of things when you sit at ballparks during girls softball tournaments long enough. And this weekend, I noticed beauty. Not just regular beauty, or the kind that we see in magazines, but beauty that comes from a purely honest and authentic place. Softball beauties meet brick dust and miracles happens! Confidence abounds, and girls at least for a while, give up on trying to be anything but what they are!
You have girls, or you are a girl. You likely spend hours picking out outfits, and making sure your hair is perfect before you go to school. Lawd forbid, you show up to middle school or high school wearing a hand knit sweater from Dear Aunt Sally with a picture of a kitty cat on it, right? As a parent of teenager girls (and budding teen age girls) you realize at some point that no matter how many times you tell your daughter she is beautiful, she is still going to feel ‘not beautiful enough.’ She is still going to stress on those mornings when her hair doesn’t cooperate, or refuse to wear a pair of knock off Bobs to school. It’s par for the course.
Young girls are constantly posting pictures of themselves on social media where they look stunning and beautiful. I remember a day when I could get my kids to go to Wal-Mart with me no matter what they wearing. Now, they wouldn’t dare leave the house without dolling themselves up at least a little bit, trading their lounging sweats for a pair of jeans. And sadly, the easiest way for me to get them to do something is to threaten to post their drool laden sleeping pictures on Instagram. (The horror if someone actually SAW them looking like that, right?)
But all that comes to an abrupt end come tournament time, or ball practice time, or ball game time.
Suddenly, there are 100’s of girls – all deeply beautiful in their own way, wearing bows and just enough make-up to ensure they look awake, who could care less about their appearance. Who could careless about the appearance of their friends. The only clothes they care about is their uniform. One girl on our team shows up to every tournament with hairy armpits, because the only time she shaved them – we lost and her teammates would literally kill her if she veered from the course. Another hasn’t washed her socks in weeks (and won’t until we lose.) Another doesn’t even take the time to comb her hair before showing up at the field.
After a game or two, especially in the hot sun – these ‘pretty girls’ are filthy hot messes. Filthy, hot HAPPY messes. And we all know happy girls are the prettiest.
And a funny thing happens. They become proud of their foot stink, even hosting competitions to see whose feet smell the worst. Their mascara has turned into eye black, their hair is a scrambled nest being held together with nothing more than a stained bow. Their butts, and legs and shirts are stained with brick-dust and they look like throw rugs that need to be shook out.
Yet they smile! Real. Honest. Authentic smiles.
It’s obvious during tournaments that they each actually like themselves, and one another.
Ask a softball team if they want to go to lunch between games and likely EVERY girl on the team will rise to the occasion, completely unfazed by their appearances, not worried in the least about how they smell, what their hair looks like, who they may run into while there, what others may think of them. Nope. They just care about eating together as a team.
I have rarely seen a girl at a ball tournament pull out a mirror. In fact, most of the time the only amount of primping that you see from girls on the ball field is the redoing, or creating of braids between ball games.
Stripped away from who they are, and how they feel –
are all of the preconceived and often encompassing worries that young girls have about their looks.
At the ball field, these girls feel accepted, and beautiful, and happy, and confident, and secure with every part of themselves. They smile REAL smiles, laugh REAL laughter, hang out with one another all ‘typical’ judgment reserved, all worries of not being pretty enough tossed to the side, living a life where they seem to truly feel FREE to be who they are.
In fact so free that they end up posting all those dirty yet happy and joyful pictures all over social media for all the world to see them. Not at their worst, but at their BEST!
And this is such a beautiful thing to see, especially in a world where our daughters are enamored with the superficial and constantly trying to keep up and show up painted and clothed from head to toe in the hopes of impressing or making other people happy. And this my friends, is a beautiful thing. Just one of the many beautiful things about girls softball.
My dream, my wish for my daughters – for your daughters, is that they may always feel as beautiful OFF the field as they do when they are on it. That they may always smile even with the bits of dirt in their teeth the way they do when they are playing ball. That they may always feel as comfortable in their skin, and their clothes – as they do when they put on their uniform.