What the Heck Is Going on in Her Head!?!?! | Softball is For Girls
When I was in 6th grade, my school took a week long trip to go to a camp, where the entire class stayed in cabins. It was a rite of passage for sure, something that every kid was both excited for an nervous about. Making it especially nerve racking for a preteen was the fact that my new middle school was made up of students from two different elementary schools, coming together where they would end up spending the rest of the highschool years together. And this was back before social media, so it was two sets of strangers sort of converging upon one another.
So basically you spent the first weeks of school sizing up the other students, and praying you don’t lose your friend group, and anxious about everything because it was like starting over.
Back to camp. So this camp was sometime in the early fall, because it was chilly but not cold. I vividly remember my stupid haircut and my puffy jacket that was multicolored. We didn’t get to pick our room assignments (again before email, so parents weren’t making requests)
Anyways, I was in a cabin with a bunch of new girls, and some old friends. One night when I went to sleep in my bunk bed, I woke up at some God awful time in the morning because my hand was in a bowl of warm water and I heard lots of giggling. I really had no idea what was happening or what the joke was, but I did know that I was part of it.
Later I found out from a friend that they were trying to make me pee the bed. Which by the way, I did not. No big deal, right? Wrong.
That moment changed the course of my life. I didn’t express how hurt I was to anyone, didn’t try to tattle tale and there was no social media to post on. I laughed along with everyone else, but a part of me died inside. At 52, I still find myself working on ‘that part.’
I can remember every single one of the girls, some of whom I ended up becoming friends with later in my journey. I can remember what they wearing. I can remember a little collar of white lace from a girl named Joan’s nightgown. (Back when nightgowns were a thing.)
Looking back, I don’t think that any of those girls were mean girls. It was just a silly night and I happened to be the first one to fall asleep. But their intention didn’t matter. I felt so many different things at that time. And the damage was done immediately. I never told my parents, my friends. But it was something that I thought about alot. I cried about it. I felt unloved, unpopular…I remember feeling worthless because why else would they have chose me. My heart was stung, and that sting lasted a long, long time. I tried playing it cool and laughing about it afterwards – hahah that was so funny….
I was humiliated and embarrassed. The rest of the trip anytime I saw a group of girls talking I was sure they were talking about what a joke I was.
Those feelings didn’t just leave. And again, I told no one.
Now, I imagine the life of a 6th grader or a high schooler in today’s world where meanness and jokes and hazing is just part of it. I am SOOO glad there wasn’t a picture or video of this incidence floating around the internet where I would have to relive it like what happens today! Today, a bad picture or a video that was supposed to be private, EVERYTHING is RECORDED. EVERYTHING these kids do is game for the internet. And in the hands of someone vicious, or insecure, or hoping to come across cool by making fun of others – these things can change lives.
Recently a young, popular, extremely talented athlete committed suicide because he made a mistake and sent a nude to someone who blackmailed him.
The point is, we don’t know what these kids are going through. They aren’t going to tell you everything. They aren’t going to tell you a lot of things. But they experience some pretty harmful, and hateful, and mean things and I promise you that these things CHANGE WHO THEY ARE. Probably forever.
I spent a lot of time avoiding these kids. I would never tryout for anything that they were part of. It was all nice, face to face – but that humiliating situation lived large in my mind.
Softball is For Girls Hopes to Empower Every Single Girl Who plays the Game – In life and on the Field.
So why all this oversharing you ask? You don’t know what these girls are going through. You don’t ever really know what happened today at school, or in the dugout out of earshot. If you are wondering what is going on with one of your players because they seem distant, or off – try hard not to make a spectacle or example of her, especially if this is not her norm. Learn how to read the room when it comes to these girls. They have bad days, that as adults we would say they are just being silly. We can tell them all the right things, but I promise you – they still get hurt and question their worth on the daily. Extra in today’s world of fake.
“Get your head in the game!” You may holler when they miss a routine ball, as you throw your hands up in disbelief. Meanwhile, she is still in her head trying to dust off the pain from something that may seem trivial to anyone else. So be patient. BE KIND. Be a friend. Offer them an opportunity to talk. Chances are they won’t tell you about things like this, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.