Since the NCAA softball tournament, I seem to have been missing softball a lot more than usual. After seeing Oklahoma celebrating with all their teammates, (Congrats by the way!) I found myself wishing I could be playing competitive softball for a while longer. Although my final season of travel should fuel my need of wanting to play, it still isn't.
Personally, softball has always been more than just a game to me. I found my family of teammates on all of my team and I can not thank a select few of them for always being there and having my back not only on the field but off the field as well. When it came to me throwing my helmet at the fence at a strike out, my best friends and players would come up to me and assure me I would always have another at bat, or when I had some outside drama in school, my best friends and teammates would also be there cheering me up and going out to grab some Rita's. My teammates have always been a little out there, loud and crazy are the two easiest ways to describe them, but I don't think I would have it any other way. A big thank you to all of the late night hotel nights, slow clapping in buffalo wild wings, learning one another's college fight songs, and just being all around amazing people. You are all the reason I would rise bright and early at 6am for warm ups and 3 consecutive games with a smile on my face.
My teammates have always been people who cared about the game, but they also believed that fun came first as well. My friends are the kind of generous people who would do the same exact thing when Sara Tucholsky's opposing team did to her. Sara Tucholsky hit her first home run during a college game, but while rounding the bases, she tore a ligament in her knee. The opposing team, Central Washington's, gratefully picked up Tucholsky and carried her around the bases, lowering her and tapping her toe on every base and dropping her after touching home plate. My teammates are the kind of people who would do the same thing. As bummed as we would be about the home run being hit, we'd still be laughing at the fact that someone did indeed hit a home run off our pitcher then giving the other player the 1 run she had earned.
I guess after watching all these girls college careers come to an end, I've missed the sport a hell of a lot more than I ever dreamt I would. Even seeing other girls out on the field, a part of my heart breaks and wishes I was the little 12-year-old diving around in the dirt like I used to. No matter how many cuts, bruises and major injuries I've earned, which is definitely over 100, I'll always strive to be on that field. But, no field is complete without the assistance of your amazing team by your side. It's been an honor playing with you all for all these years. It's the end of a great era.