As our world begins to slowly open up into “Phase I” of our new normal, there is a sense of both excitement and trepidation. For our homestead there is one thing that has been looming on our mind these past 9 weeks. The day the softball fields open again. Oh softball, how we have missed you old friend. I know this may seem like a trivial thing to be elated about. There are questions about how things like new play rules, sanitation requirements, concessions and more will be managed. We undoubtedly have all those questions too, but we get to play. There is nothing that we love more than watching them play. Before COVID shut down, our home alone was navigating 10 teams. Yes, 10 teams for our five girls. Softball is everything in our home, and here are a few reasons why.
I cannot relay the amount of time our girls dedicate to developing as better athletes. On average, there is practice a minimum of twice a week ranging from 2 to 3 hours at a time and even during the 9 weeks of quarantine, they were done. There are private lessons, wall drills, mirror drills, and time at the gym. It’s hours in the car traveling to and from tournaments. It means they wake up at 5:30 am on Saturday mornings and play until well into the evening. Then we turn around and do it again on Sunday. It’s not easy for your teenager to skip a school dance or her best friend’s sleepover, I promise.
They put in the time. We make the time.
There are so many important life lessons that can be developed from letting your children be involved in sports. They get the opportunity to learn that indeed “teamwork does make the dream work” and that “there is no I in team.” Each player has a specific role and purpose, none more important than the other and every single one necessary to play the game. It builds character in a way not all life lessons can. Key factors such as accountability, time management, and education. Can’t keep up your chores and GPA, you don’t play. It’s that simple. Humbling yourself to know you can ultimately only control what you can control. Sometimes the only thing you can control is your attitude.
You will win some and you will lose some but it’s an art to learn to do both gracefully.
They are a family.
There is nothing like being on a team. It always amazes me how much transition happens between the first game until the last of a season. Much of the sport is chalked up to talent, hard work, effort, but the heart of the game is just as much, if not more, about trust. Peace of mind knowing your catcher is going to frame that pitch in your favor. Trusting that when your teammate throws that ball to second on a steal her baseman will be there for the tag out. Confidence that when your pitcher steps in that circle she has not a shadow of a doubt that her entire team will defend her back. These girls go from strangers, to friends, and to loving each other like sisters.
There is nothing quite like a softball sister.
We’re a family.
The family that plays together stays together. People often don’t understand why we would even consider spending every weekend rain or shine, freezing or sweltering, at a ballpark. Or why in today’s times we will jump through all the hurdles and requirements. I can’t think of time better spent than when we travel together as a family. Sure it’s a lot of planning and prepping, and then more planning and prepping, to haul 7 of us around every weekend … but we are together. Some of the richest conversations we have shared with our girls were on a drive home from a game. It makes every minute of lugging around tents, chairs, ice chests, wagons, worth those moments. The ones in both joyful celebration and broken defeat. I’m here to tell you, there is nothing more magical than seeing your toddler wide-eyed and overcome with glee cheering on an older sibling. Trust me, It’s magic.
Softball is so much more than a sport in our home, it’s a way of life.
To all our softball families who have been awaiting this day just as much as us, we can’t wait to see you! Let us remember to be gracious and flexible through the transition process. This is nothing like our regular season. It’s new to our organizations, Coaches, Umpires, teams, and the family that support them. After all that we have endured during this time of quarantine, let us stand together and show the rest of the World just what softball is all about. How team work really does make the dream work if we all just stick together. Now, Let’s Play Ball!