My first sport

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Ermahgerd, I TOTALLY fell off the wagon for the March Healthy Living Blog Challenge.

I'd find myself sitting on the couch several nights a week thinking about how much I needed to catch up on the blog challenge, but then I'd decide that eating and not blogging sounded like a way better idea. As much as I adore healthy living blogs and sharing healthy recipes and talking about running until you darn near crap yourself, I just didn't feel particularly inspired by most of the writing prompts.

Like, "What is your favorite healthy dessert?" Well, first of all, I find healthy desserts blasphemous (kidding ... kind of). And as wordy and literate as I consider myself to be, I couldn't think of any way to make the post longer than:

"Cake. I like cake. The end."

So I kind of just ... stopped doing the challenge.

In other words, I'm a huge quitter.

But since March ended only 3 days ago, I still feel like it's worth a try to at attempt the final post in the Healthy Living Blog challenge.

Fitness Cheerleader

What was the first sport you played?

Softball.

The end.

Just kidding.

But it was softball. 

My mom and dad signed me up for t-ball when I was a wee lass. At the tender age of 6 (or however old you're in kindergarten. 6, right? Or is it 5? I have no concept of how old kids are supposed to be and when. To me, when you're short, you're a kid and when you're tall, you're an adult. Period.)

Ahem ... 

At the tender of I-have-no-idea-for-sure-but-I-do-know-I-had-a-sweet-set-of-suspenders-adorned-with-plastic-Scottish-Terriers, I swung a softball bat for the first time and played on a team called the Bluebirds. Oddly enough, I'd go on to attend Indiana University in a town that that is home to a well known bar called The Blue Bird.

Was it fate or just a totally random coincidence?

Coincidence, definitely. It's a bit of a stretch to believe that destiny played any part in my getting drunk off of watered-down $2 well drinks whilst going deaf listening to an 80s cover band on a Thursday night before my Anthropology final exam.

Sorry, this train totally derailed.


Anyway, from the very first time I started playing softball, I played third place. When little children are haphazardly swinging at a tee, lots of balls tend to come your way and I loved the challenge of trying to gun the ball over to first base. After I graduated from the coach-pitch league and entered fast-pitch softball, I gave the catcher position a try and fell in love. As fun as third base was, the catcher was in on every play. As a teenager, I played in travel leagues and attended work shops to improve my catching abilities.

When I was a freshman in high school, I was asked to catch for the Varsity team while they're regular catcher was meeting with college scouts down in Florida. I was one of the few to earn a Varsity letter as a freshman and trust me, I was proud. 

However, by my junior year of high school, I was straight-up burnt out on the sport. I'd played softball every single summer (all summer) since I was 6 (or 5 or some unknown age) years-old. During the school year I practiced after school (sometimes even before school), had games in the evenings, and played in tournaments on the weekend. Plus, I was working part-time and playing volleyball, too (my second love). My closest friends didn't play sports, so I constantly had the feeling that I was missing out on a lot of fun adventures. 

After our softball program was taken over by a new coach (whom I personally think is a major doo-doo head) and he tried to keep down in the JV league when I clearly deserved to be on Varsity, I quit. I called my mom from school (crying, of course), and asked her if she'd be disappointed in me for quitting. She said that she was proud of me no matter what, so I said goodbye to the thing I loved.

I just stopped playing. Everything I'd been working towards for 12 years (a college scholarship) was gone. Just like that. 

And I was actually perfectly fine. As much as a full-ride scholarship would have solved SO MANY of my problems now (I hate you, student loans), it wasn't worth the exhaustion anymore. There wasn't even a gaurantee that a scout would notice (or care) that I could bulldoze a runner trying to steal second base. I was 18 years old; I just wanted to be with my friends.


If I wasn't playing softball in any capacity now, I'd most likely be filled with all sorts of regret. Sure, having my Senior Night in high school and the possibility of playing in college would have been some awesome highlights for my scrapbook, but playing in a recreational league as an adult is still a huge focal point in my life.

In fact, softball season starts in just a few weeks and my tummy is already fluttering with the familiar twinge of excited, anticipatory butterflies. I hope that when I'm pushing 50, I'm still grabbing my weathered softball glove and lacing up my cleats. I might be walking the bases instead of running them, but I'll be playing softball and that's all that matters.

The end.

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1 comments

  1. Feel ya on the softball burn out!!! I played tee ball, then softball, then tournament ball in addition to my high school team, then in college. I wanted so badly to play for a Division I team, and was recruited by many, but after visiting many of the schools and meeting the coaches, I ultimately decided Division I was not for me. I wanted to continue to love my sport, not feel like it became my job...which is exactly what would have happened. So, I went to play for a school close to home, and I ended up on a team full of girls just like me - totally disgusted with how Division I teams work, and opted to play to have FUN while getting a great education - and had the time of my life. Some of my very best friends to this day are the girls I played with in college. A bunch of Division I quality athletes who opted to play Division III ball for a little Catholic college (which also meant no athletic scholarship). We were the best friggin team in the league, and had a BLAST on and off the field.

    However, now, unlike you, I don't play anymore. I can't. My body is just....done. Destroyed. My shoulders are done. 12 years of pitching 65+mph will do that. My back....toast. Forget it.

    I want to play. I want to feel the dirt of the field under my metal cleats. The ball in my hand with awesome seams to send that riseball soaring and sit that batter down on strike three. The bat when you hit the sweet spot and rocket a double into the gap in left center.

    But I just can't.

    Good for you for getting back to softball after walking away all those years ago. And good luck to you and your team this year!! :-)

    ReplyDelete

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