I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I’ve spent tens of thousands of hours at this park, on this field:
I grew up playing softball. When I got old enough and good enough, I played it year-round. Unsurprisingly, I eventually became burned out, but because much of my social life was wrapped up in softball, it took me a while to get the nerve to stop playing. When I quit, I had to deal with anger from my friends, teammates, and coaches, which I worked through, but I also had to figure out who I was beyond softball. And I did, and my life went on.
I’m the second one from the right.
I quit softball right before the first game of my junior year. I didn’t quit on a high note – I’d been ditching practices, faking illnesses – all the telltale signs that something wasn’t right. I didn’t know the last game I’d played in would be the end. I don’t even know if I got a hit.
This always bothered me. I had a recurring dream where I was on a softball field, playing third base, and the ball was hit to me. I’d field it cleanly, then move to throw it to first. But the ball either wouldn’t come out of my hand, or I’d throw it and it would bounce on the ground right in front of me, trickling over to the first baseman too late to make the out. Then, I’d be up to bat, but I’d strike out swinging on three perfect pitches. I had that dream a few times a month for over seven years.
When Jackie! and I were roommates, she came home from work one evening and recruited me to fill in for a missing female on her company team. I went and had a lot of fun playing. I didn’t have any problems throwing or hitting the ball. My recurring dream slowly stopped, and I eventually joined a few different slow-pitch teams, where I managed to get more hits than errors.
I went back to that park today, where I spent all those hours practicing, playing, and watching softball. My old high school had a game, and Maddie and I watched the girls play. I remembered the pressure, the agony I put my young body through, and the HOURS of practice. And I remembered the chants, the camaraderie, the thrill of victory.
And then I looked at Maddie, watching the Big Girls play:
…and I realized I’ll be spending a lot more time at parks just like this one.
Domestic Extraordinaire says:
I think that you can get burned out so easily with anything, especially when you are a teen just trying to figure out who you are. I love that photo of Maddie & when the time comes for her to play the game you will be an awesome help, maybe even a coach!
Domestic Extraordinaires last blog post..Girls Day out.
That look on her face is just too cute.
I’m a baseball mom…two boys playing now, two more who watch their older brother’s play with that same face. But just like you burned out on softball, I burned out on volleyball. I think it gives us something to always be aware of with our children. Hopefully, I can be a better baseball mom because of it.
I was a softball playing machine too…started at 7 and quit at 14. Year-round, regular Bobby Sox (I saw your shirt, woot!), all-stars then High School where I quit my freshman year before the first game…I just couldn’t take it anymore! But whenever I see girls playing, I always get this itch to get out there and throw the ball around for old times sake, I even thought about coaching. Now I have Bella and I look at her and wonder if she’ll want to play too…that will be fun
ps. RESPECT for the bangs hahahhaa
Maddy's Daddy says:
Daddy loves baseball too….I’m 6’3 and 200 pounds and lefty and pitched in high school. That may not mean much to most of you, but lefties my size who can pitch make dough. Unfortunately, I went to a small private school where the computer teacher was the coach. So not much help there. At a real school I might have been drafted…alas…like Heather, we will put aside our gripes with baseballl/softball and teach her all we know if she wants to learn…and if she keeps that adorable smile on her face!
Ok so my 13 y/o plays softball and LOVES it still. She has been playing some form of softball since kindergarten. I am SO afraid she’ll get burned out on something she is so naturally good at before even high school. From your experience, what can I as a mom do, to try and ward off burn out???
i’m sorry, but the bangs on top of the visor?? i’m going to be laughing at that all day long.
(because i *may* have a very similar picture of me like that….hahah)
alis last blog post..the cheese stands alone.
a) Thank you for the entertainment of your old pictures. That made my day!
b) I’m so jealous of Tara. How did she manage to avoid the urge to cut bangs? She looks almost the same. Lucky!
c) Good thing we recruited you that night…because we SUCKED! If I recall, I sprained my finger the night you were there because I was such a klutz. If only you could have played both of our spots.
oh yes you will and you’ll love it!
ninas last blog post..Tuesday….
Baseball/softball are our lives. I am even player agent for our local little league. I really thought about encouraging my youngest to not play but I think it’s something you’re born with-as evidenced by your pics.
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Those bangs are fierce.
You and I are the SAME PERSON.
Lesson: Don’t let Maddie play year round, and you’re good.
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moosh in indy. says:
I third the bangs and raise you a bobby sox.
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I could have done without the picture of myself but to tell you the truth, I could have almost posted that as well. I still have those dreams where I get the ball and can’t throw.. I have them very often. I played slow pitch for a while but as my vision got worse I decided I didn’t want to play anymore. I was too embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t see the ball without my glasses on. I have taken Brie to the park to watch my little sister play softball. She absolutely loves it and asks every day when she will be old enough to play and if she can have a pink helmet and bat. I even thought about going to the game yesterday but the kids were actually sleeping. I am sure you know that I quit as well. I had no explanation to why I did, I was just not into it anymore. It was my life for so long that it was hard to get over it. My dad grounded me for life (you can see that I am not grounded anymore). It seemed like all I was to my family was a softball player and it really bothered me. Of course I want Brie to play and enjoy it the way I did, but I hope she doesn’t have to deal with what we did.
Nobody was mad at you for quitting junior year and leaving me all alone to fend for myself against our evil coach…
Jackie, don’t be too jealous. I DID have awful bangs. I just grew them out a little bit before Heather.
Headless Mom says:
I played Bobby Sox when I was a kid, too. When I moved out of state I tried to play softball there, but they played slow pitch. Yuck. And also: boring.
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Amazing Greis says:
Softball is one of my fondest memories from growing up. Maddie looks so thrilled at the park. So cute.
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You are super cute. Love the old photos and look at how long Maddie’s hair is! What a beauty!
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