Remembering my softball heyday

Published 4:10 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Occasionally I have the pleasure of covering the undefeated Varsity Lady Cats softball team, and when I watch them I’m reminded of why I once loved softball, even though I was less than spectacular at the game.

Being on a team, camaraderie is somewhat instantly formed. You cheer together for your wins and you feel the same sense of sadness when you lose, but no matter what you’re not doing it alone.

I watch the girls as they chant when other teammates are hitting or running the bases, and I remember doing some of those same chants during my time as a elementary school player.

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My time was cut a little short, but it wasn’t because I didn’t love my team. I wasn’t ready for the next level of the game and my dad was the coach. Sometimes the disagreements on the field would go home and that wasn’t worth it to me.

I remember my first day of practice. My dad took me out there early to set up, while we waited for my friends to arrive. He asked me to pass out fliers around school so we could set up a recreation team, and I was really excited. I was no good at sports, but maybe with my friends it would be fun. I passed out the fliers, and low and behold everyone was interested.

I waited for everyone while my dad tossed me the ball a few times. I was deathly afraid of the ball and didn’t want to get hit. Practice hadn’t even started yet when my nightmare came true and the ball hit me right in the eye. I cried and wanted to go home, but instead my friend’s dad took me to the convenience store to get ice.

I wasn’t getting out of the game quite so easily.

I eventually got a little better, but that doesn’t mean you still couldn’t find me playing around in the outfield with one of my friends picking dandelions. My dad would make me run, and I would complain and not talk to him the rest of practice.

I did become good at one thing: hitting. I loved batting practice. Every time that ball came my way I wanted to hit it with all my might.

I remember the night I hit a triple. My friend had her boyfriend and his friends coming to watch us. I wanted to be great, so I drank the energy drink my dad gave me and put my best foot forward. BOOM! That ball was sailing off; I looked as I rounded the bases and saw them whispering, “that can’t be Jill!”

I guess it was a little hard to believe. I was last in the mile time, I would get winded just playing kickball, yet here I was helping lead my team to victory.

When I got to home plate and everyone hugged it was just the feeling you long for. Your teammates are proud of you; they want you to meet your goal too.

I was in the fifth grade when I was involved in a car accident that put me out the entire season. My team loved on me, though. They came to visit me at the hospital and at home. When I finally got to come watch, they would say this win is for you!

It was our championship game, when I got cleared and they wanted me to take our last at bat.

It had been weeks, if not months of not being on the field. I took my position and that’s when the moment I’ll never forget happened. I hit my first and only home run and won our team the championship. I ran home, where everyone hugged me and my dad picked me up and spun me around.

I don’t think Coach Bryant will be picking up the girls and spinning them around, but I hope for every senior whose last season it is that you get to experience a magical moment of your own this season.

I hope time stops in that quick little second and your brain remembers that tiny moment forever, because there’s no better feeling that being embraced by teammates that have become friends and friends that have become family.

With that being said, take it to the championship Lady Cats and make an everlasting memory.