Nearly 13 years ago, I was introduced to the one thing that I would fall deeply and utterly in love with: softball. Softball has changed my life in many more ways than one could even think. Softball has been my escape from many things: my mom dying, dealing with my dad’s drinking problem, and feeling like I might never be good enough for someone. When I first started playing at age four, never did I think I would play to escape the world that was destroyed by the people who created it. In a perfect world, I should have been the one obligation for my parents, but instead I was their burden. I never felt as if I would fit in with their lifestyles or was worth just enough for the necessary care and support I desperately needed.

It was my sixth grade year when softball became something more than just a game I played with my friends. Softball is where I went to be isolated with a dozen other girls and not worry about problems outside the white lines. Inside those white lines, no one knew about the struggles I faced. Over the years, as things with my family became more and more chaotic and unstable, softball was the only consistent thing in my life that I could rely on to not let me down. Softball has kept me out of a great deal of trouble by forcing me to make good decisions. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to play. One thing that I can take away from all the years of playing softball are the friendships I’ve made that will last a lifetime as well as the morals and lessons that no amount of schooling could have taught me.

Most importantly, though, over the last few years, I have dealt with the death of my mother, completely forgave my father, and realized that I finally have a place in this world where I belong. Softball has been to thank for each and every resolved problem in my life. I know that my mother is in a better place, my dad and I are closer than ever, and I have been accepted to Culver-Stockton College where I am planning to obtain my masters degree and become a neonatal nurse practitioner. Softball has kept me grounded over the years by forcing me to keep my grades up. At the time of graduation, I will most likely be graduating with a 3.8 GPA, which I have worked so hard for by taking honor classes all four years of high school. Reflecting on how things use to be and how great things are now, there are two things that come to mind: my step-mother who adopted me and softball. Of all the pain and heartbreak I have endured in this short lifetime, softball has shown me that pain is honestly only temporary.