It’s Softball, It’s NOT Personal

Today, fast-pitch travel softball has reached far and wide. Millions of girls play, there are millions of teams, coaches, parents, fans, umpires, organizations and venues that cater to this sport we all know and love. It has become very competitive, which is a GOOD thing for our daughters. With better competition – they are enabled to become better players.

The more the merrier – the more, the MORE opportunity there is for ALL of our daughters.

And sadly, with all this growth and advancement and knowledge and interest – there is also a lot of whining and pleas for a watered down fastpitch program that caters to every player.  

Cries from parents and players that say, “This is not fair!”

Assertions that one team or another has squashed a child’s self-confidence, or pushed a girl who loves the game away – all in the interest of winning. Young girls getting cut off teams, not making teams, not getting enough playing time, yada yada yada. So many people that stomp and pout and spew anger and insults around because they didn’t get their way, feel their daughter was slighted, are irritated about the politics, disagree with coaches, etc. have been born out of the sheer growth of this sport.

But. Here is the thing!  This is fastpitch softball.  It’s not personal. And if it is personal, and awful – then why stick around!?!

Most of the time teams start-up with one plan, and end up pursuing another. They realize in the great big bad world of competitive fastpitch softball where their lacks are and what they need to work on, and past the honeymoon period, teams start realizing that every successful team dynamic is different. Suddenly, they require something more than they have.

And in this ONGOING process, people – kids, sometimes get hurt. They might be benched or replaced. They might be cut. They might not make a team. Sometimes, it’s the parents that ruin things for the kids and mom and dads behavior that becomes the problem.

Sometimes, one or two or even three girls aren’t playing to the same level as the rest of the team. It doesn’t mean that these players are BAD players. It’s not an insult. It doesn’t mean that the coach doesn’t like them. It doesn’t mean that everyone thinks these girls stink and aren’t talented. And it certainly doesn’t mean that people are trying to purposely hurt kids or are out to ‘get’ these girls. Trust us, coaches and team personnel WANT EVERY KID TO BE AWESOME! It’s not personal.  

This is softball after all not the mafia. Seriously, being cut, or moving teams, or realizing after two blissful, happy years that you need to shake up and make changes AS A PLAYER or AS A COACH, is not the end of the world. Sure, it stings a little – but this sting can and OFTEN IS the thing that helps your daughter the MOST!

And as much as you want to say that softball is not about winning or losing, there is a scoreboard there for a reason!!!! Don’t kid yourself. Yes, we all want to empower the girls, and build them up, and give them confidence, and teach them all the things about life that they can learn from playing softball. It is said that the “least important thing we teach them on the field is softball.” Sometimes, disappointment, and the fact that life seems unfair at times – is ONE of those lessons. But the reality is that once you enter the world of COMPETITIVE, TRAVEL, TOURNAMENT ball – you are there to succeed.

Ask yourself. Ask YOUR daughter! Are YOU and YOUR DAUGHTER helping a team succeed or not? Or if you as an adult,  are constantly starting problems – do others HAVE to buy into it, just because you’ve been there since day one? Is it fair as a PARENT OR PLAYER to think that their daughter should ride the coattails of success without doing the work?

Seriously,  IT IS NOT PERSONAL! Some of the BEST players in the sport today have been cut from one team. Choose to see these momentary setbacks as OPPORTUNITY! Move on peacefully.

At a certain age, and when big money is being spent, and lots of time is being invested – THE KIDS BECOME ACCOUNTABLE! There is a consequence for non-performance, or bad attitude, or parents that stir the mish mash drama pot on the sidelines by constantly playing the victim.

The reality is that better competition tends to reveal weaker and stronger players. Spending lots of time at tournaments with a team (players, coaches and parents) ALSO tends to reveal a lot of personality differences and nuances that you might not pick up on during regular league, drafted play. Sometimes, girls and parents become so complacent, that being cut from a team is exactly what they need. Instead of turning to Facebook, and talking to parents trying to spread drama like a cancer onto others – wouldn’t it be best to lead by example, show our daughters that we can pick up our stuff and carry on like a warrior?

Can’t we, SHOULDNT we teach our girls to use disappointments and the NO’s and the things we don’t think are fair in life as REASONS to motivate them? Catapults to personal success?

These break-ups of sorts don’t have to be friendship ending endeavors.

After all, this is about softball – and 9/10 times, it really is not personal. We should be grown ups, and as coaches and parents – be upfront and honest and respectful of one another. When something isn’t working, we should talk to one another to avoid hard feelings. As parents we can’t blame a coach or a team for “breaking our daughters hearts,” and suddenly become inflicted, angry, resentful and spiteful toward people we called teammates just yesterday. That’s immature, and MOSTLY that only perpetuates entitlement and a bad attitude downward to our daughters. Our daughters are kids – we cannot expect them to be mature about things, ESPECIALLY if the parents or coaches aren’t being mature.

Seriously. Let’s all take a moment and put things in perspective. 90% of the time, the things that occur outside of the foul lines ARE NOT PERSONAL ATTACKS. Why anyone would choose (or want) to take it that way, is foolish. There is always another team, another opportunity, another chance, and another place that will provide a good fit for your family, that is one of the beautiful things about the expanse of this sport. 

And you know what else. If it IS personal – if there is a personality clash – then why pray-tell would we WANT to stay?  You spend a lot of time with your fastpitch family, and every team dynamic is different! It has to be at the very least, enjoyable.

Most of the time, things work out for the best in the long run – for all involved.

Our advice. Stay in the sunlight. Don’t waste your energy on anger, frustration, or trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Let it go. Look ahead. If you are not ‘wanted’ or your daughters skill set are not valuable to one team, they will be to another. Every step we take in life offers us a chance to learn. If we simply resort to anger, we will only continue to learn the same lesson over and over again, until we GET it.

And by all means. The big world, does not revolve around you and your daughter, or me and my daughters. Everything is not personal. People are not going out of their way to plot and plan ways to hurt us. It’s sort of egotistical to think that ‘everyone’ is out to get us, and wants us to suffer. Shouldn’t we get over ourselves just a little?

Yes, change, can be uncomfortable at first, but in the long run – it can be the BEST thing for personal growth.

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