To the coach who bullied me in high school,

Throughout my entire life, I have always loved sports. I couldn't imagine my life without them. If I went one day without being active in some way, shape or form, my day would feel incomplete. That was until I hit high school.

Before I had you as a coach, I've always loved going to practices, no matter what sport it was. Even if I felt like throwing up, I would still push through either a practice or a game, and wait until I got home to pass out either on the couch or my bed. I would come home and typically feel good about my performance that day. I've always had in interest in music and theater, but I knew you would get on me for having any commitments besides you and "your" team. I was warned about you before even officially joining the team, but I loved the sport enough, so I shrugged off everyone else and was still committed to you. I even played for you the day I got hit in the head with a giant rock by another student, because I was the only first baseman, and I didn't want to let you down, even though everyone else thought I was crazy for making that decision. I've also turned down an opportunity to go to a state conference that could have been a huge resume booster, only so that I wouldn't be benched the rest of my senior year.

After finally being able to start varsity, you told me that I had the potential to be a backup pitcher. This was when I had started paying to get lessons, hoping that one day you would let me pitch a game. No, I didn't expect to do it much since I had already had another starting position, and was a backup but when both my mom and I were taking money out of our pockets weekly for lessons, I expected to at least get to do it a little. You didn't even give me that opportunity until the last game, 21 games into the season, against the worst team in the league. By that time, I had quit going to lessons because I no longer saw a point in wasting the money, only to get let down each game. This was when I got scolded for not practicing any. Maybe I would have practiced if I had gotten an actual opportunity to do it in a game, rather than completely wearing out our starter, making her pitch double headers by herself, multiple times.

Typically, a teenage girl would be worried about other players bullying her. Yes, this was true with me as well, but what I was more worried about was you bullying me. We were winning by 8 runs, and all of a sudden, had a bad inning, allowing way too many runs to be scored. Yes, I will admit that should not have happened, but when you stopped the game, why was I the only one you screamed at? I will never forget the words you said to me that day, "What the hell is the matter with you Lipani? Did you forget how to play the game? Step it up or you're out of the game!" I was used to getting blamed, because there's no better person to blame for a messed up play than the first baseman. Never did I think it would be to that extent though. Not to mention this was in front of everybody's parents, and it was not quietly said either. Did you forget that there were 5 mistakes made previous to mine, that were probably more crucial?

There was a double header that day, and you decided to sit me out the second game for crying, and my head not completely being there. Of course, I'm going to cry and be upset when you completely embarrassed me in front of my parents, my best friend, as well as all of the other parents that were there that day. From that point on, I was terrified to go to practices, or games, and I was so close to quitting, with just a couple short weeks left in my final season. At that point, I didn't even care, I just wanted to be done with you, and no longer treated like one less from the rest of the team.

Maybe I would have tried playing in college or travel ball if it wasn't for you. You've taken away a lot of my confidence when it comes to sports. People told me I was a good player, but I didn't believe them because you've torn me down so many times. Even at the awards banquet, your favorite memory of me was of me tripping over my shoe and having to crawl to the base to get the out. Maybe you were trying to be funny (and I'll admit it kind of was), but you had nothing better to say? Everyone else got great things said about them and mine was that? Even to this day, I still get a nervous feeling in my stomach whenever I see you around.

Even though you've made my time with you a living nightmare, you have taught me that I am a stronger and better person than how you treated me. I deserve to be respected, and If I can get through you being my coach for 4 years, I can get through just about anything tough that comes my way.