I took off sprinting toward first. As I rounded first, all I could hear was the sound of my heart pumping, adrenaline rushing. I reached second with no intention of slowing down. As I approached third, I knew I was going to make it all the way. Finally, I landed, two feet on home plate, and threw my hands up in the air with the biggest smile on my face. I heard my mother yell from the stands, “Honey, it’s time to head home!” That’s when reality hit. I was just a young girl, standing on home plate, out of breath from running the bases after my mom’s slow pitch softball game. It was at that moment my love for the game truly blossomed.
At that time, we lived in Fremont, Nebraska, where there were many opportunities to compete, with year round seasons, lots of travel ball options, and endless training facilities. I had big dreams and high hopes. I wish I were here telling you that everything worked out the way I had planned, but unfortunately, soon after my love for softball began, my family moved to a small community in Kansas. Opportunities that were once plentiful are now limited. Recreational softball was played for six weeks, May through June. It didn’t take long for me to realize that a six week season wasn’t going to be enough, so we started our own local club team. While we had some success that first season, it made me realize that I needed to re-focus my efforts in order to continue to compete with the girls from bigger cities with more training opportunities.
While good softball resources are limited in our immediate area, I attend college camps when available, commute to the metro for skills camps and pro games, and watch lots of YouTube videos, which have all assisted in making my knowledge of the game proficient. I am a great utility player and am currently seeking pitching lessons to continue my growth as a pitcher. While I bat in several spots in the lineup, probably my most favorite stat is being a lead off batter with a growing stash of home run balls. I know I have untapped potential, and although some of that will be realized in the next few years of high school, I will never stop wanting to learn and improve my skills. I’m truly a student of the game. Previous coaches have praised me on my mental toughness, and I actually like getting constructive feedback. I not only have potential, but I also have the determination, work-ethic, and character to positively impact a softball program. These qualities are a result of my small town upbringing and having a well rounded childhood.
I have had the opportunity to be a multi-sport athlete. Along with softball, I have enjoyed some success on my high school volleyball and basketball team. I will always be grateful to my dedicated teammates and excellent coaches that made it possible. Participating in these activities has taught me important life skills, such as, but not limited to, accepting and owning my mistakes, sportsmanship, leadership, working under pressure, and communication. Due to all of the life skills learned, I would not change the experience, even though finding balance is a challenge. Outside of sports, academics is of high importance to me, along with having a part time job and belonging to several clubs such as KAY club, FCCLA, and Smalls and Talls.
While I don’t know exactly what my future holds, I know two things that will continue to be important to me: being of service to people and being involved in sports. It might mean being a team doctor, helping athletes recover from an injury, or even sharing my passion for the game with others while assisting them in their athletic careers. I’m not worried that I don’t know the long term plan for my life as long as I find a great school and supportive softball family that will foster personal growth and help me find my calling to be the best I can be.