I haven't played softball since I was in high school. While I don't necessarily miss the hours upon hours of pitching practice or the bad umpires, the things that I do miss highly outweigh those.
1. The pristine field on game day
A mowed outfield, perfect dirt, and crisp, white lines... yes, please. Not to mention a clean softball that practically glows.
2. The smell
Okay, this sounds weird, but softball has a smell. To this day, sometimes I will walk outside and it will smell like softball. Whether it be the smells from a fresh spring that comes at the beginning of the season or the smells that come with sweltering July and travel ball, all players know what I am talking about.
3. The bus rides
These bus rides may have been a little cramped and hot and uncomfortable, but they were amazing for team bonding. Whether it be finding the perfect pump up songs or taking unflattering pictures of those that are sleeping, to this day, those bus rides are still vivid memories in my mind.
4. The circle
At the beginning of the inning, the infield would get together and pump each other up with good luck or simply make a joke to lighten the mood. As a pitcher, I especially liked it, knowing that my team had my back.
5. Throwing a perfect pitch/making a perfect play
This is what we work towards every day in practice. This is the reward we seek from running through plays over and over and over. So when it finally happens, there is no better feeling. A perfect change up that had the batter swinging two weeks ahead, amazing. The execution and team work of a double play, incredible.
6. Getting thrown a meat pitch
Being able to swing at a pitch that you like is perfect and often results in a show of your strength. Take advantage of those gifts from the opposing pitcher and knock it out of the park.
7. Having "your number"
I think this is an overall athlete thing. It seems silly, but once that number is one the back of your jersey, it becomes a part of you. You want to do it justice and feel a camaraderie with everyone else that has that number. (My number was 11 and my favorite athlete is Cole Beasley from the Dallas Cowboys... guess what number he wears?)
8. Being physically fit
Softball, or any sport really, helps you stay in shape while doing something you love. Often, or at least for me, I didn't really see the benefits until after I stopped. Now if I want to stay fit, I have to go to a gym... gross.
9. Winning a well earned game
Winning a game in general is spectacular, but winning a game that was close or a game that your team worked its butt off for is something even more special. This also applies to beating a rival team, too.
10. The celebration
The joy after winning a game is infectious. The bus ride back is filled with an energy about it that allows your happiness to be magnified and your inevitable soreness to be temporarily forgotten. If I remember nothing else about high school or softball, the joy of winning a game and celebrating with my team will always be my favorite part.