When Softball Is No Longer Just A Game
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When Softball Is No Longer Just A Game

When it's a part of your heart, it's no longer just a game.

When Softball Is No Longer Just A Game
Bethany Chamblee

Every one remembers their first love. Most people think of a person, but I was blessed to fall in love with something else. Since I was old enough to even know what a softball was, I've been in love. I've been in love with the smell of a freshly cut field. I've been in love with a perfectly chalked baseline. I've been in love with a field that's just been drug. I've been in love with rubbing the dirt around in my hand. I've been in love with the feeling of my fingers on the seam of a ball. I've been in love with the sound of the ball coming off the bat. I've been in love with being surrounded by my teammates in the dugout. I've been in love with it all. I was the girl who never got burned out, never wanted a season to end, and never wanted to lose a single game.

Some people would say that's just too much. You might even be thinking that right now. Some people even think that parents like mine shouldn't allow their daughters to get so caught up in softball. That's it's just a silly game. Some people will say no sport should be that important to someone. They'll say girls like me are crazy. If you ask me, people who believe softball is just a game are really the crazy ones. But then again, there's no way they ever played or they could never say that.

It's no longer just a game when you fall in love with every single aspect of it.

It's no longer just a game when you're in the yard bonding with your dad over a bucket of balls and a tee and he's giving you just as many lessons about life as he is about softball.

It's no longer just a game when you make the game winning play or have the game winning hit.

It's also no longer just a game when you feel like you single-handedly lost a game and can't stand it, but work harder to make sure it doesn't happen again.

It's no longer just a game when the success of your teammates makes you happier than your own success.

It's no longer just a game when your heart hurts every time you lose a game.

It's no longer just a game when you get in a slump and hit so many balls off of a tee that yours hands are bleeding from blisters.

It's no longer just a game when you live to play for the name on the front of your jersey.

It's no longer just a game when you sacrifice your weekends to play another travel ball tournament.

It's no longer just a game when your parents sacrifice and spend their money on countless pitching lessons, hitting lessons, workouts, bats, gloves, helmets, and so many more things.

It's no longer just a game when your family vacations revolve around travel ball tournaments.

It's no longer just a game when 90% of your friends are/were also your teammates.

It's no longer just a game when your glove is your most prized possession.

It's no longer just a game when you're 14 years old, your mother is days from dying with cancer, and you stay home from a tournament to be with her. But she won't have it and makes you go play anyway because she loves softball just as much as you do.

It's no longer a game when three days later you are standing at your mother's grave wondering why this is happening & then drive four hours to play in a World Series, because she told you to go no matter what. Some people say you shouldn't have gone. Some people also don't know what they're talking about.

It's no longer just a game when your teammates, your very best friends, make ribbons with your mom's name on it and have one waiting on you when you get there.

It's no longer just a game when you wear that ribbon in your hair every game for the next 8 years & try to play every game like your mom is still is the stands cheering you on.

It's no longer just a game when you're team, your second family, wins the World Series the very same week & is the only thing keeping you going.

It's no longer just a game when it keeps your family from going insane over the next few months.

It's no longer just a game when you live for game days, for practices, for tee work in the yard, and for pitching sessions when you can forget everything except the task at hand.

It's no longer just a game when your high school team, filled with a group of girls who love the game, each other (most of the time) and their coaches, breaks records and makes memories that will last a lifetime.

It's no longer just a game when your heart rips out of your chest because some people just don't love softball like you do & don't acknowledge the work you've put in even when you're playing for their name on the front of your jersey.

It's no longer just a game when your pictures from your high school senior night shows four crying, distraught girls who just lost a game they never should've lost.

It's no longer just a game when you give up going to your dream school to keep playing softball for just two more years, & never regret a second of it.

It's no longer just a game when you choose to go to the Women's College World Series with your dad for your senior trip instead of going to the beach with your friends.

It's no longer just a game when you learn how hard it is to be a college athlete but stick with it. You cry. You stress about it all. But your love for the game never wavers.

It's no longer just a game when your dad becomes your assistant coach for your sophomore year of college and because of that you become closer than ever before.

It's no longer just a game when it's your last game with your dad as your coach, after 16 years of him being on the field with you, and you cry and cry because you know it's over. You know he'll never call another pitch for you. He'll never give you another signal from third. He'll never have another huge grin on his face as he's tells you to go to second. You'll never get chewed out mid-field by him for everyone to see. He'll never be on the field with you to celebrate another win. But you'll never forget all he's done for you to be able to fall in love with the game and you'll never be able to repay him for it all.

It's no longer just a game when your junior college's program gets cut because they don't think softball is just a game. They don't understand how much wearing the name of the college we all represented meant to us. They don't understand it will never be just a game, even if they try to make it seem that way.

It's no longer just a game when you move ten hours from your family, your friends, and everything you've ever known just so you can play for two more years.

It's definitely no longer just a game when you're sitting in your bedroom floor holding your old jerseys and sobbing the week before you leave to go back to college to play your senior season.

It's no longer just a game when you know you just finished your last front yard bullpen and your heart can barely take it.

Its impossible to look at it as a silly game when the thought of life without softball scares you, but at the same time you know it's prepared you for so many things in life that some people will never understand.

It's not just a game when you pray that you will have a daughter that will fall in love with softball just like you have, so she can know the love you have for it.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion. However, if it's your opinion that softball is just a game, it's my opinion that you are so very, sadly mistaken.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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