I’ve been playing softball since I was five years old. When I was growing up, my sister played softball for the Monroe Indians and I was at every single game, but most of the time I was just playing on the playground. My dad was the coach of my sister and he always tried to coach me when I was only four years old. He would try to get me to throw a ball and swing a bat when I could barely even spell my own name. He finally decided to sign me up for t-ball even though I really didn’t know if I wanted to play yet. I played for Monroe, just like my big sister and I was the only girl on the team. I played the whole season and still didn’t really know what I was doing. The next year he signed me up for coach pitch, which was a big step up from a ball sitting on a tee to being tossed at me from the coach. At first, I really struggled with hitting but after nights and nights of my dad practicing with me outside I started to get the hang of it. My sister was a pitcher so, of course, that’s where I wanted to play, and I did. This year was the first season I got to play with my best friend Darby, when we were only six years old. I played coach pitch for three years and we won the championship every season with my dad coaching me the whole way through. At just seven years old I spent endless hours practicing in my garage and backyard. After my third year, this was when I realized I wanted to follow in my sister’s footsteps and play travel softball.
It was time to step up and play for a better team because I was definitely capable of it. I was asked by the coach of Circleville Crush to play with them. The coach's name was Luke and I met him and his daughter Kenzie when I was eight years old. I still play softball with Kenzie, and this travel season will be my seventh season with her. The year I played with Circleville Crush was when I really started to love this game and had tons of fun. I got super close with this team and I finally realized why my sister played her whole summer and traveled all across the state just for this game. We won every tournament this season but one, which is a huge accomplishment. The next year I played for PC Sting, the same as my sister. I played for Sting my 9U and 10U season and my whole summer was dedicated to this sport. I still spent almost every evening practicing either my pitching or my hitting. I gained so many new teammates and forever friends during these times. We traveled all across the state. After playing with Sting I was asked to play for another team called Venom and we had a pretty successful season. More friendships were created and my love grew even more for this game.
This was my year, and after this I was asked to play for a pretty well known team at 11 years old called the Vipers. This was when I had my coach, Mark. Mark was my coach for 3 years and he will always hold a special place in my heart. Him and my dad were my coaches and they were the only people that always believed in me when no one else did or I didn't even believe in myself. I can't thank them enough for all they did for me in not only bettering me in softball but also as a person. My first year playing with Vipers I met so many new girls and I couldn't be any more thankful for these girls. They stuck by my side no matter what. We traveled from Indiana, to West Virginia, Michigan and Florida. The season coming to an end was sad but it wasn't so hard because we knew that this team was staying together and playing again together next year. The next year though, my 12u season, was definitely the hardest it's ever been to let go of a team. During this season there was a lot of ups and downs. There was times I wanted to quit softball and never play again and other times where I never wanted to let this game or my teammates ever go. I found out that I had a heart condition that made me slow down and not have as much fast reaction which I really needed, being the third basemen. I had surgery and had to sit out for a couple weeks which was really hard. This was also my third year of playing with all of these girls and I didn't want to have to let them move on because we knew this team was splitting up no matter how bad we didn't want it to. We went to Myrtle Beach for nationals that summer and after we lost our last game there, the season had ended. Right there and then. I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life. From the field back to the condo I couldn't see straight. These girls were my best friends and knowing I would probably never see them or play with them ever again broke my heart. We had each other's backs on and off the field and that was a bond that could never be broken or replaced. All of my teammates had everything you would want in a teammate. Full of love, trust, dedication and effort.
Softball has definitely put a huge impact on my life. I honestly have absolutely no clue where I would be today without this amazing game. Softball is a big part of who I am and always will be. Whenever I'm feeling down or can't get my mind off something, I always know I can turn to softball and go outside and hit or just sit on the field to think. It is my escape from reality and I don't know what I'm going to do when I can no longer do that. Softball has definitely caused a lot of my stress, though, too. There have been millions of tears shed from being hurt to getting yelled at for my errors in the field or bad hits. And bruises and blood all over from leaving everything out on the field. I have made hundreds of friends from not only the girls on my teams, but also the girls that I play against a lot. I never would have had the opportunities I did without this amazing game. After I graduate, there will always be that emptiness in me without this game that I love more than anything. It's so hard for me to process that I will never play softball again and I'm going to take advantage and cherish these moments I still have left playing because I know it's going to fly by. I'm so thankful for all the memories and friendships I have made from this sport and will forever be thankful I got the opportunity to play it. Softball was my first love and will always be apart of me no matter what I do or where I go.