As another summer softball season has come to an end, I want you to know there is no doubt in my mind, someday you will miss this. You will miss playing in the dirt, smelling the grass, throwing a runner out trying to steal, you will miss your teammates, you will miss your coaches. Someday you will wish you could take one more swing of the bat or slide into home again, but for now take a deep breath and soak up every minute you are blessed to play the game you love. You may see me, the pacing mom behind the fence trying to walk off the butterflies in my stomach, however, just know, I love watching both of you play the sport you love.
I can tell softball is both of your passions, pour your hearts into it. As you continue to develop into the softball players you want to become, here is my advice to you:
Play in the dirt, run through the outfield, jump...have fun. There is nothing more important for any given game, other than having fun. Smile. Play with a purpose. Love the game.
There are two things that you can control, you can control your attitude and your effort. Play with heart, try hard to not let your emotions get the best of you. Move onto the next play. Your attitude is a reflection of your heart. Also, you may not be the most talented on the field, but there is no excuse for someone working harder than you. Through your dedication and hours of practice, amazing things will happen...just keep working hard. Never let your work ethic be less than your best.
Be humble in every win. Be gracious in every loss. There is always something to learn in both wins and losses, both are going to happen, both provide opportunities to grow not only as a player, but also as a team.
Don’t ever hang your head after a mistake (I know this is tough). Life is full of strikeouts and overthrows, these things give us opportunities to learn. Just like the wins and the losses, there is a great deal that can be learned through mistakes.
Cheer on your teammates, nothing is better than standing at the fence chanting any softball cheer. Your teammates see you when you are at your finest, yet they also see you without any makeup on, they see you in the early morning hours, they even smell your sweat and don’t care. Some of your teammates are your best friends, but all of them will be lifelong friends. Take care of them, and they will in turn take care of you! A team that cares for each other, will accomplish amazing feats.
Know your coaches want not only you to reach your fullest potential, but the entire team. Your coaches care about you, never think differently. Your coaches put the hours into learning the game, just like you, and they are passionate about the game just like you, believe in them, respect them, and thank them often.
Appreciate your fans, they are your softball family. Everyone of them is enduring the heat, the freezing cold, the rain, the early mornings, the late nights, right along with you.
Never let your competitive spirit get in the way of sportsmanship. Respect the opposing team. That team loves the sport just as much as you do. Be gracious and kind to them. Respect the umpires. Most umpires truly love the sport. The umpires have to make decisions in split seconds, they will have calls you don’t agree with, however, your job is not to complain and move onto the next play. Don’t forget to be gracious and kind to the umpires.
My last piece of advice goes back to where I started. Always play with a greater purpose, care about your teammates and coaches, play with your heart, love the game you play. Just think, there are not many sports where you can be up to bat with firecrackers lighting up the sky, playing that extra inning game at midnight, or just simply playing the game you love with your best friends. Take each practice, take each tournament, take each game and just love the sport. Play with heart. Have fun. Love the game.
Your Mom, a volleyball coach