When I was in fourth grade, I played rec softball. I was unathletic and had a coach that killed the love of the game for me. In fifth grade, I decided not to play at all, because I really didn't enjoy it anymore.
But the spring of sixth grade, things changed. I was watching the WCWS, and it was the Super Regional game between Florida University and Texas A+M. I sat there and watched Kelly Barnhill's motion and fell in love with the mechanics of pitching. And at the end of the game, I saw Jordan Matthews hit the walk-off home run as a freshman. I watched the team get so excited and I saw the coaches start jumping up and down from excitement. Seeing everyone together and truly playing as a team gave me the softball bug.
So, I played for my school team, and rode the bench almost every game. Me and my parents sat down and had a conversation about where I want to go with softball. I made the decision very fast that I wanted to play among the best of the best at the college level. That night we set some short term and long term goals. The short term being; become the starting middle school pitcher, become the starting pitcher for my travel team, and be the starting varsity pitcher as a freshman. The long term being; play college softball.
That fall we started pitching four times a week and doing everything we could to get me to where I needed to be before spring. After months of hard work, tryouts came along, and my coach told me that I had earned my spot as the starting pitcher. I was beyond happy that I had met my goal, but I knew my journey wasn't over. At the time of seventh-grade softball, I was only pitching around 45 MPH, and I knew that to meet my next goal I was going to have to be a lot better than that.
My next goal was to be the varsity starting pitcher as a freshman. So, after summer ball had come to an end, we worked even harder, and got a pitching coach. I went from 45, to 53, to 58 in a matter of five sessions. I developed a change-up, a drop curve, a curve, and a screw all before my eighth-grade season. I was so excited to show everyone how hard I worked, be dominant at the middle school level, and show my high school coach that I'm varsity material, but then COVID-19 happened, and my eighth-grade season didn't happen. I was devastated, but I took it as a chance to work even harder so that I could be a surprise when varsity tryouts happened.
But my hard work isn't just with softball, it's with my schoolwork too. I've always known that schoolwork comes first and that no school is gonna want me if my grades are bad. I also work extremely hard in the gym, so I can get my body right and stay in shape. I will continue to work hard and strive to play at the highest collegiate level I can.
Thank you, Mia Coots