Pitbull. That was my nickname as catcher behind the plate. This name was earned through hard work and a tough doesn't take sh*t attitude. That position was my baby, and I treasured standing behind the plate every time I stepped onto the softball diamond. You took over for a girl you didn't know, and you also don't know the connection I had to the position, so I'm going to give you some advice and let you in on some secrets too.

First and foremost, love and cherish that position as much as you possibly can. Being a catcher was a large part of my life. I spent so much time behind the plate and I became dependent on the comfortable feeling I gained when I was catching. So many of the lessons I have learned in life, I learned from my time behind the plate. I took command of the filed from my position. I looked out on the entire field and had the whole game to my viewing. I made decisions for my team and I was part of every play in the game. I had control, and I demanded respect from the game. From this position, I learned how to be a leader. I lead my team as not only captain but also as a team player. I learned to set the example so the rest of my teammates knew what I expected of not only themselves but myself as well.

I also learned from my time behind the plate that your team depends on you. During my junior season, I got injured, and I couldn't play for a week. During that time I missed practices and games, and what I learned from that is that your team depends on you, so you must make the right decisions for your team and your teammates because being dependable is a quality you want to have. One of the things that I have kept to myself all of these years is this: cherish the moments of silence you have at the position. Every game, you will get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the plays and the score, so when you can, just take in the silence and appreciate the opportunity you have been given to play with your team and appreciate your place and position on the team.

There are secrets that I accumulated over the years, and I want to share some of these with you. My first secret is this: you may not always get along with all of your teammates, but when you step aside, it is imperative you set those feelings aside, because when you step on the field, you are a single, well-oiled machine, and you can only play as well as your weakest link. I can guarantee I didn't always get along with my teammates. There were some girls that I consistently butt heads with, but when I stepped on the field, I had to put these frustrations aside, because when you don't let these feelings go, they get into your head and affect the way you play.

Another secret is that sometimes you feel like you aren't doing the best behind the plate, and it can get into your head. I'm here to tell you, you are doing your best, and it will all be ok. You weren't born knowing the skills of a catcher, and there will be times when you are off your game, and it's ok. As long as you are doing your best, then that is all anyone can ever ask of you. My final secret is this; your team will become your family. You spend so much time together and you begin to rely on one another as friends, teammates, and even as a family. You come together with one goal and win or lose, you are one team.

So if there's anything I want you to take from this is that you should love your time in the position and love it. You will learn so much from it. While softball may not be your love and life like it was mine, I hope you can learn as much about yourself from being a catcher as I did. I have a love for this position, and in turn for you. You have stepped into the position that I had to move on from, and I am beyond proud that you have joined the club that is being a catcher.