Softball – Bloom Where You’re Planted

Lots and lots of questions appear in our inbox EVERY DAY, about folks who aren’t sure their daughter is on the right team.

Should ‘we’ try out for a better team?” “This coach doesn’t see my daughters potential.” “The team we are on has some drama attached to it.” “Another team wants my daughter to play, but she is committed to her team.” “Our team picks up pick up players all the time.” “We” aren’t very happy on our team, and are thinking about a switch, but….” “My daughter is not being challenged.” “My daughter is not getting enough playing time” “The coach wont allow my daughter to pitch in anything but pool games.”

You get the point – today fastpitch softball is flooded, and we mean FLOODED with travel teams at all levels, which means parents and children are always striving to see if there is a better fit, a better team, a better choice.

Basically, the list of indecision and reasons to switch, and worries about going or staying with a team go on and on- but the reality is the question is essentially the same. 

Is the grass greener on the other side of the fence?

wishThe problem is that SIFG doesn’t have the exact answer about what is right for you and your family and your daughter. We do know, that NO team is perfect, no coach is flawless, no team is without some sort of drama, and no team is the ‘perfect team.’ We also know that at a certain age – our daughters become responsible for their fate on a team and that THEY need to be able to prove they are worth playing time, worth being the starting pitcher or short stop, and show the courage and strength it takes to manage social dynamics with their self-esteem in tact.

We know lots of girls and their parents who are compulsive team hoppers. We imagine that their closets are full of jerseys and socks in each and every color of the rainbow. One week she’s happy and thrilled to be on Team A, and suddenly, she’s on Team B – and thinking about Team C. Two weeks later, her picture pops up on Facebook in yet another jersey.

We also know that MOST of the time, this doesn’t have much to do with the kids. Kids are normally pretty happy until someone tells them they shouldn’t be. That’s why the questions presented to us – always include a “WE” rather than “MY DAUGHTER.” And really, while WE as a family have to deal with and accept a team dynamic, it is our DAUGHTERS who have to play, grow, thrive. We cannot do that for our daughters.

Today, we are unfortunately not teaching our kids a valuable lesson – not just in softball – but in LIFE. 

The lesson to bloom where you are planted.

We are raising children today to look for the easy way out. (If my daughter goes to Team A, she will be a walk-on pitcher – but if she stays on Team B, she will always be a back-up) But if she stays on Team A, she may be motivated to practice harder and work harder.

We make excuses for them about why they aren’t getting what they want (coach is playing a friends child over mine, even though my daughter is better) – rarely holding our daughters accountable. This is not to suggest that there really are some awful teams, with awful coaches who operate under an awful dynamic. WE SEE THOSE TOO!  If your daughter and you are truly, truly unhappy – then you should switch teams. And fast. If you see things going on that undermine karma, or your values – then run, run away and find a better fit.

But if your gripes are about playing time, or starting positions, or opportunity, or making a switch because you want your daughter wearing a jersey from a more coveted organization, or because there are two softball moms who constantly run their mouths that you can’t stand, then you might want to take a step back and encourage your daughter to bloom where she is planted. Fulfill her commitment. Learn how to dance to the beat of their own drum. And thrive!

In life, just like on the softball field – our children will not always be in the most pleasant situations. They will always deal with people they don’t like, have teachers they think aren’t fair, face situations with peers that are hurtful. There will always be things going on around them that are frustrating or nagging. Life is not always harmonious and perfect – and learning how to bloom where you are planted, and thrive anyways – and do their own thing despite and regardless of others, is a valuable life lesson.

If folks would decide to bloom where they are planted, rather than constantly look for greener pastures, kids would learn about working harder, working together, making things work even with adversity. They would understand the meaning of commitment and learn about personal responsibility to make positive changes in their own lives. They would learn how to communicate with others effectively.

Bottom line is that no one can tell you when its time to switch teams, or if you should stay or go! Chances are if you are asking the question – you are already on your way out looking for a quick fix for either yourself or your daughter, believing that the grass will be greener on the other side of the fence.

We say, try to BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED! Make the very most of the soil that holds your roots. Find a way to get what you want right where you are before simply jumping ship and adding another jersey to the closet. Empower your daughter to realize that she really and truly is in control of her destiny and happiness because she has a choice.

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