The Softer Side of Softball
Its a funny thing about softball. One moment you are immersed in the highly competitive and thrilling world of fastpitch softball, and the next you realize that this game is REALLY about a bunch of brave little girls.
Here’s the thing about softball that we often forget…
These girls out there, they are someone else’s daughter. Each and every girl that steps on the field has people who love her just as much as we love our own kids. Every girl that steps up to the plate, has someone cheering for her to do well and succeed, a parent who says a quick prayer that she will get on base and hit the ball, or make the play. A parent that is hoping her little girl will love the sport enough to continue to play, a person in the wings who is just hoping that this little game of softball will enable their daughter to be a kid, stay a kid – just a little longer – no matter what is going on in her life.
Truth is, we don’t really have any clue what each and every one of these children deal with on an emotional level. We don’t know each and every child’s personality.
We know young girls who walk up to the plate with a nervous belly, and who somehow put their whole self worth into whether or not they hit the ball or not. When they miss, they hear the sighs and “Oh Gods, why is she in the line up” comments from whispering fans. They FEEL the eye rolls and waves of disappointments.
And yet, they are still brave enough to put themselves out there.
Have you ever wondered how much courage it takes for these kids to go out there and perform? Yes, perform! It is exactly what they do. And unlike performers in a theater play whose applause comes only (and always) at the end, these girls put up with a games worth of mini wins and losses and noisy interactions from their fans.
And yet they still PUT THEMSELVES OUT THERE for all of us to see.(Thank goodness, right?) Over and over again. Determined and relentless. Brave and strong.
The vast majority of us cringe at the thought of public speaking or having all eyes on us, and yet these girls are BRAVE enough to go out there and play their game while others intently watch and judge, with their little souls bared for the world to see. When they make a mistake there is no hiding it from all of us in the background. When they swing and miss, everyone in the park sees it, and some (their opponents) are even happy about it. When they miss a ball, or drop a pop fly, or walk 5 batters and hit one all in one inning, or get down on themselves and frustrated – there is no running off the stage to hide behind a curtain in softball.
How brave is that? How much courage and mental toughness do these young athletes have to not just willingly, but happily – show up and play their game while hundreds of folks watch on the sidelines, especially with the knowing that half the people in the park are hoping they will mess up, hoping they will fail so that another little girl can win?
Today, we just wanna say BRAVO to those girls, and remind everyone on the outside of the fence that the softer side of softball is all of those daughters (yours and mine), all of those little girls who are brave and exude courage and who aren’t afraid (despite their sometimes obnoxious fans) to put themselves out there for all of us to see!
And, the truth is that win or lose – no matter what the scoreboard says (and no matter how loud the fans are), we (and they)think you are ALL WINNERS!!! We are amazed by your bravery, and impressed with your tenacity and courage to show up and play this game! We think you are all brave, and strong, and we admire your love of the game, and dedication to keep on showing up and give your all out there on the field.
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Thank you so much for all your great posts! I am so excited when I see a new one in my inbox!
It takes so much courage to step on the field, especially when everyone is talking about the odds being against you. Stepping up to the challenge and be willing to put it all on the line, for better or worse, means letting go of some level of control. There is so much going on and athletes can only manage a tiny part of it.