To the Coach who Hurt Me, I Forgive You

To the Coach who Hurt Me, I Forgive You

"Do not let the shadows of your past darken the doorstep of your future. Forgive and forget"

-Rachael Bermingham

I've been playing softball for as long as I can remember, and all I ever wanted was to have fun and play my best. My dad is my biggest inspiration for playing, and as a little girl I looked up to him, idolized him, and vowed to make him proud one day. Until my junior year of high school, I loved softball without a doubt. Nothing could tear me down, not even the injuries I had suffered throughout my career.

But I was wrong; you, the new head coach, made me feel revulsion towards the sport I loved most. Sure, you would be pleased with my good moments, I'll give you that, but what about when I messed up? When I was struggling with hitting? What did you do then? Under your guidance, I didn't breathe; all I did was tread carefully in troubled waters. That disappointed stare has stuck itself in my memory like a thorn, causing pain that leaves scars.

When I asked for extra help, when I wanted to get better, where were you? Was it worth sitting us upperclassmen and playing your best players just to win? How was it fair to have me play defense and never hit? When we were down, you didn't bring us back up like our old coach did. You sunk us lower than sea level and we couldn't find our way back up. You thought yelling would help, but it never did. All we wanted was encouragement, all we needed was a teaching moment that didn't involve a yelling match.

Softball wasn't fun anymore, and it was even worse when I was going through some difficult personal problems. You made me feel so sad, so low of myself, and even so angry that I almost walked out of practice often. I wanted to yell and scream and cry but I didn't. I wanted to pretend to go to the bathroom and cry in the locker room awhile before I faced you again.

You made me feel awful about myself, shooting my confidence to the ground. You made me think that my dad wasn't proud of me and that I was an awful softball player. All you cared about was winning and not about strengthening the team, the players who struggled, and the faith and respect from your players. At first, I didn't play softball after high school because my confidence was shot, my love for the game was broken, and I didn't want another coach like you. But you taught me a valuable lesson through all the pain and sorrow; you taught me to forgive and be a better me.

You inspired me to help other girls who wanted to play softball the way I would want to be coached. I learned to use a negative situation to form a positive outcome not only for me, but for those who endured a similar path as I did. Because of the curveballs you threw at me, I have written an article about the sport I love, taught young girls how to play softball, and I've fallen back in love with playing the game.

Although I cannot forget what you did to me, I forgive you. In my path to more positivity and using my bad experiences for the greater good, I have finally begun to find my confidence. A few years ago, I would never have written a letter like this, but writing not only has become my passion but my voice to be heard by others. So Coach, thank you for hurting me. Because of you, I found my way to forgivness. Because of you, I'm helping others through my past experiences. Because of you, I am moving on.

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