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How the Abington Angels Changed My Softball Career

As we drove home from vacation, thoughts were racing through my mind, as my dad and I talked about softball team tryouts. After having had a great year with the Horsham Heat, I was anticipating playing with my school friends on the Heat again this year, but they were all moving up to the fourteen and under age bracket. Given my small stature and the fact that I was young enough to still play down in the twelve year old age bracket, moving up to play with my friends was not really an option. Additionally, the Horsham Heat twelve year old team mostly consisted of eleven year old girls, who likely would not be competitive this year. Two years prior, I had played on the Horsham Banshees at the most competitive tournament softball level. Unfortunately, it was not as enjoyable an experience as I had hoped, as the coaches were far too worried about winning and not as concerned with making the players better. However, it seemed that returning to the Banshees was my only option.

After attending Banshee tryouts just before deciding to play on that team, my father received a phone call from the head coach of the Abington Angels. The Angels were interested in having me try out for their team. As we drove to the Angels tryout, my heart was racing as fast as a cheetah running on the sandy, dry, hot African plains, since I had to play really well if I wanted to be chosen for the team. We arrived at the tryout after what seemed like hours in the car, but I was focused and ready to play my best. As the tryout started, the coaches immediately put me in the batting cage to look at my swing and watch how I hit the ball. While I was as nervous as Mike Tyson at a spelling bee, after my first couple swings I was able to relax.

CRACK went my bat, as I hit some long, hard, line drives in to the soft, freshly cut, green grass. I then went into the field and made some nice catches with my glove. Fielding is the best part of my game. To me, nothing compares to the smell of my broken-in mitt and the feeling of confidence that comes to me when I have that piece of leather on my left hand. I want every ball hit to me, and I feel like I can take on the world. It is why I love the game so much!

The coaches pulled my dad aside and said all the right things about developing my softball skills, making me a better player and having an enjoyable experience. After the tryout, I also had the opportunity to walk around and chat with the girls on the team and realize just how nice they all were to me. In my mind, this was the place for me to play softball this year, and I was going to be upset if I were not chosen to be an Abington Angel. However, I was proud of myself for trying my best and overcoming my nerves. I knew that if I was not chosen for this team I would have to go back and play for the Banshees; an option that was not my preference based on my past experiences. My softball future hung in the balance awaiting the Abington Angels’ coach’s decision. I was about to have a defining moment in softball.

As my father and I hopped into his muddy, disgusting, trash filled Chrysler Pacifica, I was terrified to find out if I had gotten an offer or not. I was ecstatic when my father confirmed, “Maddie, Coach Joe offered you a spot on the team. Now it is up to you to decide if you want to play for the Angels or the Banshees.”

“YAY!” I exclaimed. “But I know how political the high school is, and if I play on Banshees it’s more likely for me to make the high school team, so I do not know what I should do.”

“You should play wherever you feel the most comfortable. I know that most Horsham girls will play on Banshees but if you want to try something new that would also be great,” my dad declared.

“Hmmmmm, then I guess I will play for the ... ABINGTON ANGELS!” I bellowed. I explained to my father that I really like the girls on this team, and the coaches are much more relaxed. I think I will learn more and have more fun playing on the Angels, even if it is not where most Horsham girls play.

My dad said, “Honey, I will support whatever decision that makes you the happiest and I am proud of you for being willing to try something new.”

Now that a few months have passed since I made that fateful decision, I am very glad that I chose to play for the Abington Angels. At first, I did not know the girls on the team very well; I only knew them from playing against them in some of the tournaments. Now that I have gotten to know the girls, they are some of the nicest and funniest people I have ever met. The coaches are planning several team bonding activities so that we can get to know each other and so we can work well together as a team. While we practice and play hard, we have fun in a more laid back atmosphere. Playing for the Abington Angels was definitely the right choice for me. I hope that the Angels can stay together through high school because this is the team that I want to play on as I develop my softball skills. While it was a difficult decision to leave a Horsham softball organization, it could turn out to be the best decision in my softball career.



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