Just a Season

I’d be really curious to know how many sports teams played in various venues this weekend. How many sporting events took place from the youngest ones huddled around a soccer ball or hitting off a tee all the way to professionals paid the big bucks to make big plays and win big games? How many of those little ones will grow up to play in those big games? How many of those little ones dream those dreams? How many of their parents dream those dreams for them? How many coaches look at their players and dream of coaching the one that some day becomes famous?

Maybe it’s not fame they dream of but the next level of play? The t-ball players look forward to the day they can hit off a thrown pitch. The rec players look forward to the day they can play on a Select team. The Select players have aspirations for High School and College and beyond.

As I sit in the stands and look at the number of players at the fields we played on this weekend, I am reminded of the limited number of spaces for all these kids as the years go on. All these kids are playing for a limited number of High School and College positions. Only the élite will earn those places. Only the élite will receive those scholarships.

I look at the parents watching these games and wonder how many of them have their hopes on bigger things for their kids than the games this weekend. I see the time and energy and dedication of the players, parents and coaches and wonder what motivates them. I wonder who will be disappointed when this season in their lives ends with a missing name on a roster that could only take so many players. I wonder who will be wishing they had all that money back when they realize the money spent for lessons and tournaments and teams did not pay off in the scholarships they dreamed of for their child. I wonder if they will want that time back. I wonder how many will cherish the time spent and the memories made?

I am a fan of team sports. I love the way players have to come together for a common goal to be successful. I love the camaraderie both on and off the field. I love what team sports teaches kids about give and take for a common purpose. I love the hard work involved. I love that they have to submit to an authority other than themselves or their parents if they are going to be successful. I love sitting in the stands and cheering on the team and watching my softball player make her plays. I like watching her fight back from a bad game with some sloppy play to help her team win a close game in the last minutes knowing she didn’t throw in the towel and give up. I love the fun I see her having on and off the field with her teammates.

I have no idea how far this softball career will go. We just moved up to the next level. We made the investment of time and money to play Select softball with the added demands for practice, skill and hard work. We will spend more time at practice, more time on the fields and more time with these teammates and parents than we ever did playing rec ball. Most of the girls came from teams in rec who were the ones to beat and now find themselves struggling to get their tournament legs underneath them. They will get there. We played our 3rd tournament this weekend and the improvements continue. They are beginning to put more runs on the board and hold the other teams to fewer runs. They are beginning to close the gap. Each weekend we’ve added to the total number of wins for that weekend. Each weekend the bats are waking up and the players in the field are looking more alert. We are becoming a team!

Gracie has her sights set on a future beyond 12U Select. Time will tell. As a parent, I want the same things I’ve always wanted for her in sports. Good sportsmanship, teamwork, fun and skills that will go with her beyond the softball field. I think we have that kind of team and that kind of coach. As long as we all continue to remember this is only a part of life and not the whole thing I think this will be an awesome season in our lives to look back on with fond memories and to enjoy while in the middle of it!

You are on a roll Rage! Keep up the hard work and keep having fun! I’m cheering for you all the way!

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