Being in college I hear, "I have found the love of my life" a lot more than you think. But I'm different. I found the love of my life when I was six years old. I bet you're wondering who it is; it's not a who but a what: Softball.
It all started when I was leaving soccer practice one day. The soccer fields are right behind the softball fields in my hometown and I noticed these girls laughing and having the time of their lives while playing. I turned to my parents and told them that I wanted to try it. I will remember this day for the rest of my life because I fell in love the second I picked up the ball. Softball made me the happiest I've ever been.
I know that it's fun, but we have to realize that everything must come to an end. Which is why it's so sad to say I have hung up my jersey and put up my cleats for the last time. The first question everyone asks me is, "Why?" and that is probably the easiest question. The answer to that question is pretty simple. I have lost the passion for the sport; I feel as if I don't even want to practice anymore. I'm not excited to be stepping on the field.
How could you lose passion for something you love? For me, I just got burned out. I came to the realization that if I kept playing I would be playing for others and not for myself. I didn't quit because I couldn't do it. I didn't quit because I hate softball. I didn't even quit because I don't love softball. I will always love the sport for what it taught me, the friends it brought me and the memories that came with it. Really, I came to the realization that I needed to put other things first.
I deliberated whether I should keep playing or not for months. I would consistently go back and forth. I would spend my days praying to God to give me a sign of what to do. I never got a straight sign because I believe He wanted me to make the decision myself.
No one can tell an athlete when to stop. Do not quit because you graduate high school, turn 18 or 21, or move to a different state. Quit because it's time. This has probably been the hardest and scariest decision of my life, but I am going to try to move forward without regret. So, thank you softball for being my love, guiding me to some amazing friends, teaching me lessons in life and shaping me to be the young woman I am today.