Two different homes, which felt like a million miles away from each other. Different lives being lived by one person. Marysville, to Kent. Every week I’d spend hours in the car watching everything pass by out the window in a blur. I was able to escape my responsibilities at one place and continue my responsibilities at the other, but with all this constant change, somehow one thing stayed the same...
My dad always encouraged me to strive for good grades. He always told me, “Friends will get you fun, but an education will get you a life.” And so I lived by that. But my mom on the other hand... “If you are good at sports, you can get a free education.” She played like every sport, but was always good at softball, she’d spend hours and hours on the dirt filled field, pitching, throwing, and batting. Her parents didn’t seem to care much for grades. They pushed her to be a good athlete, so she could get a scholarship.
This was where the conflict came in. My dad was a fan of sports, but he did not believe it was the highest priority. And neither did I. I played basketball and T-ball from when I was 4 to when I was around 6 or 7. But then school just became my focus. I quit all sports until I was in the fourth grade. My classwork had always been too easy for me in elementary. And I felt like I didn’t have any good friends.
My mom wanted me to do softball more than anything in the world. And that was about the last thing on the list of stuff I wanted to do.
“You need to be more active, and you need to get into athletics before it’s too late,” My mom would ALWAYS bring this up whenever I argued against sports.
And so, she forced me to play them. She told me I needed to learn what it’s like to be on a team, to know what it feels like to have a group of people always cheering you on and encouraging you, and to learn how to be competitive. I HATED softball. I absolutely hated it. It sucked. And I didn’t know anybody on my team so I felt super outcasted, and lonely, because it was only my first year. But I had gotten really lucky and didn’t even know it. I got the best coaches ever. They understood how I felt about playing, but somehow they managed to change my mind. They told me something I’d heard before “You can never like something that you already have a negative mindset about,”
They took all my positive qualities and made them better. I apparently had a good bat speed, so they said I just need to keep my eye on the ball. And finally, later in the season. I made some friends. I’m even friends with some of them now. One of my close friends, Jessica, and my best friend, Mckenzie.
That year, when I hit my first double, I wanted to jump for joy, I could almost taste the great feeling of accomplishment. My coach pulled me aside and told me, “As a little league coach, we get two picks, which means I can choose two people I want on my team, and then everyone else is randomly assigned to me. One of my picks was you. Because I knew you had so much potential. I could see the spark in your eyes. I saw a true ball player in you before you knew it.” I ended up making All-Stars that year. It made me really excited. But I was just a backup player. And that was when I came out of my shell. I ended up coming back the next year, and I was better than ever. I didn’t want to be a bench player ever again. I wanted to be a starter. I wanted to be such a good player, they’d never even consider putting me on the bench. I figured out I wanted to be a catcher that year. I loved being in charge of the defense, I felt like I was able to decide how the game went. That year, we ended up going to state. And it all started with my best friend Kenzie hitting a grounder, and me scoring the winning run to win the district championship. We got 3rd place in State. It was a great feeling. I had been injured for State. I had stitches in my left foot and they felt like someone stabbing me in the foot I couldn’t play to my full power with them. I wasn’t even supposed to walk, but my team needed me and I couldn’t let them down, because it could’ve been a once in a lifetime opportunity. That was the first time Marysville Little League fastpitch softball went to state in 10 years! I sat out the first game and It was hard. But the next game came around and they had me catch. I hit two triples and I hopped around the bases like a one legged bunny. They had someone else run for me after that.
The same year as districts and state, I had been awarded for academic excellence. I received a certificate from the president. It came with a pin that was gold and shiny.
Softball helped me keep my mind off of school for a little bit at home. It helped me make friends, learn how to work with people, it also taught me leadership and team spirit. Those traits help me every single day. School has been just too easy and I thought there was nothing left to learn. That wasn’t true. There’s stuff in sports you’ll never get taught in school. And the thing about softball is, if you make a mistake, it’s okay, because mistakes are a sign of effort, and you actually get better by making mistakes. You learn from them, and then you have that experience and knowledge. I gained a better social life, and a better attitude, after sports, and now I’m on a select softball team, I made it onto the school softball, volleyball and basketball team, because I know that good stuff can come out of trying something new. I ended my sixth-grade year with a 4.0 GPA and I still manage to keep my grades above at least an A- now, in seventh-grade. Although I have sports every single day, I know that school always comes first. I will always want to remain a Student athlete.