In my softball story I like to consider myself the underdog, and I wouldn’t trade my journey for anyone else’s because my path has taught me MANY life lessons that will live with me for the rest of my life more than any statistic could.
At an early age I learned what it meant to make sacrifices; softball demanded your time. From long practices and games and countless hours in the car, to two-day tournaments on the weekends, I had to give up certain things to make it all happen. But I did so happily because I was committed and loved the game.
In high school I even sacrificed an hour of sleep in the morning three days a week to go in early before school started and get an extra hour of practice in with one of my friends. Little did I know at the time that this dedication was preparing me for the adversity I was going to face in college.
In college I did not have many opportunities to play my first two years which was a huge mental test for me. Those two years forced me to remember my “why?” Why I was a playing? Who was I playing for? What made me love softball so much? Remembering my reasons for my “why” humble me and truly embodied what it meant to be a true team player instead of focusing on personal success. Those two years on the bench taught me to keep grinding even when you don’t see results right away, you never know what’s going to happen.
My junior year was proving to be my breakout year at college, I was named the junior caption and I had finally earned a starting position in right field. Things were finally falling into place for me, but then the unforeseeable happened… a global pandemic. That quickly ended our season and there went my junior year. Something a former coach would always say to us was “control your controlables, which are your efforts not the outcome.” That phrase rang true in this situation. I couldn’t control what was going on all around me, all I could do was focus on my attitude and efforts for next season.
Senior year was interesting to say the least. There was a head coaching change, and our roster was critically low from girls either transferring, quitting or not returning to campus when the opportunity presented itself. I also made 2 position changes. My first position change was from right field to second base. This switch was uncomfortable because I had not played second base for almost four years. I knew I had to dust off the rust and dust it off quickly. With time, a lot of extra work outside of regular team practice, and the support from my teammates and coaches, I found my groove again. Just as I got comfortable, my coaches came to me one week before conference play started and said they wanted to try me out at short stop. This position change was mentally harder than my first switch because I had never played short stop in my entire softball career. I was scared of messing up and letting my teammates and coaches down. There was a window of time where I didn’t know if I was capable of successfully pulling this off. Thankfully I had the best coaches and teammates to support me every single day while I was making the transition to the other side of the field.
I couldn’t resist the change because it was happening, so I did what I had to do to succeed, which were to “control my controlables.” Focusing on my efforts, every single day before team practice, I would go out an hour early and get extra reps on the field to help prepare myself. Each day I got more and more comfortable and then one day short stop was my new happy place. Now don’t get me wrong, I made mistakes throughout the season, but I knew my team and coaches had my back.
If you should take anything away from my softball journey it should be that hard work really does pay off. Even if it takes you a while to get there, progress is better than none, so always keep your head high. My journey has also taught me to embrace change even if it means feeling uncomfortable. You’ll never know what kinds of opportunities are ahead of you if you don’t take them. Life is always going to throw you a curve ball, so embrace it. Work hard and never stop hustling… you are capable of anything if you are willing to work for it.