I've tried to sit down and write this article on many different occasions. Each time I think I'm ready to talk about it, but I'll get two sentences into the article and have to stop. My close friends know that this is a touchy subject for me, and some of my friends don't even know about this part of my life because I'm always too afraid to confront my emotions and talk about it.
This time I think I'm ready.
I miss you. I have been so afraid to admit that to myself since I quit because I was worried I would have regretted my decision. I knew eventually I would miss playing softball, but I had no idea it would feel like this.
Softball had been my life since I was 5 years old. It was my family's entire life. My Dad taught me everything I knew, and coached me for a while. I looked forward to practice every day and weekend games with my travel team. As I grew, the game began to grow on me. I began to love every little thing about the sport. It wasn't until high school that I realized how passionate I was about softball, and, man, did that passion explode.
Softball was me, and I was softball. Every free second I had was devoted to softball. I loved every moment I had a softball in my hand. The game started to become more detail-oriented, and I wanted to learn everything I could possibly know.
I craved knowledge of the game. I wanted to learn the perfect mechanics in a homerun swing. I wanted to know how to hit that homerun every at bat. I wanted to understand all the rules and facts that came with the game. I wanted to become faster, stronger, and more successful. I wanted to be a better leader. I wanted my team to succeed. I wanted to succeed.
I could write about how passionate I was about softball for hours on end, but I won't. The passion I had for this game can't really be described in just a few words. It's hard to say. The only way I could quickly describe it, is to say that I was in love with softball. Softball was my life, and today, missing it the way I do, feels like constant heartbreak.
The day I quit was during my sophomore season of college. I don't know exactly when it happened, or why it happened, but it did. I fell out of love with the game. I dreaded going to practice. I didn't want to put in any extra hours on the tee. I felt like I wasn't there for my teammates anymore.
So, I had to walk away.
At that moment, it didn't hurt that much. There was a little sting at first, but there was more weight off my shoulders than anything. I knew one day I'd miss the game, but in that moment I was feeling alright.
And, here we are, a year later. It's my first season without the game, and maybe that's why I'm missing it so much. It's not just the season I miss though, or playing the game, or that feeling after getting the winning hit.
I miss the details of the game.
I miss the desire for knowledge and results.
I miss hanging out for countless hours with my coaches (shoutout to Coach Kewely).
I miss practicing my swing 100 times a night in the mirror, to get my mechanics just right.
I miss the blisters on my hand after hours of hitting.
I miss the feeling after diving for a ball and getting dirt all down my pants.
I miss the passion.
I miss being apart of a team.
I miss the feeling of having my teammate's back, on and off the field.
I miss screaming in the dugout.
I miss the tan lines and the sexy uniforms.
I miss having a tournament every weekend and traveling with my Mom.
I miss team bonding at the hotel after a long day of games.
I miss the feeling of winning a game.
I miss the feeling of losing a game.
I miss my parents coming to watch my games and cheering me on from the stands.
I miss every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears I gave to the game.
I miss the life I used to live.
I miss everything about it.
I miss softball.
The game made me the person I am today, and I am forever grateful for that. I hope to one day be able to give back to the game like it did to me. I hope to teach my daughter, and any other girl I get the pleasure to coach, everything I know, and teach them how to love the game that I miss so much.
To all you girls still playing, and feeling the passion I once did... don't let that feeling go until you have to. Treasure every moment and don't forget that one day you will miss it. One day the game will move on, while you are sitting in the bleachers, wishing you were back on that field absorbing all the details of the game.
You may not believe it now, but I promise, one day you will.