Making decisions is never easy, especially when these decisions can have a great impact on your future. Not so much a life changing decision or changing a path of the future but definitely a decision that would lay heavy on my heart to this day.
I was good. I could’ve been great. I could’ve been outstanding. I did everything I was told by my coaches and from private lessons. I breathed, slept, dreamt all things softball. My parents spent countless hours catering to my needs to excel in this sport; in my position. They set up private lessons each week, provided yard equipment so I could practice more conveniently, and my dad and I would play catch in the street frequently. They made me love the game because of their love through me. The dedication and support they showed me are unexplainable.
Some of my best memories are those we shared at the dinner table discussing what they thought I could do to improve on and off the field. Or the long weekend and nights of practice and traveling. Not to mention the summertime heat. They were as dedicated as I was.
So where did the hate come from? It certainly didn’t come from them. They were never pushy or rude. They didn’t beat my passion down or cuss me out for a bad play. They didn’t act as crazy parents that I was embarrassed of them. Simply, they supported me through it all. Even up to the hardest decision I would make at that time.
What was once love turned to hate. How? I can’t answer this fully. But overtime, the passion and love of this game faded. I don’t believe this came from internally, but from numerous circumstances that were out of my control. I clashed with many people amongst that organization. I felt like I didn’t belong. Like I was totally the odd man out. My heart was on the field but my head was off wondering, “this isn’t me”. I can’t continue to be part of this when I felt like I was a stranger to an organization that I grew up with.
Overtime, I felt like I let my peers down that year. In the moment, though, I did what I felt was best for me… not play my senior year of softball. Do I wish it would’ve been different? Absolutely! Would I change my decision if given the opportunity? Probably not.
I knew once I made my decision I had to stay true to myself. I didn’t want to live life with regret. Or the “what if’s” that came with my decision. I do feel like it was definitely a life lesson to always put me and my feelings first and not do something out of obligation or feeling like I let others down.
I have to say, I will never forget that day. One of my greatest friends was with me and watched over my shoulder as I talked to the coach. I had to put on some super brave pants and calmly explain the situation without emotions. Plain and simple terms. I cannot tell you how disheartening it was but I had the support of my friend in the time I needed it the most.
To this day I don’t speak of softball to anyone. It’s crushes me. I don’t watch it on tv or go to games. It kills me. I don’t have senior softball year memories with my teammates. Or have the nerve to step on a field to coach or teach others (yet). What I do have is a bag of my softball equipment that stays in my closest of the reminder of the love, dedication, and passion I have for things in life. A reminder that a tough decisions made me a stronger person. And a reminder that everything in life happens for a reason.
By the way, I was a pitcher. I loved the game with all my soul. I had bruises, lace marks, raw fingers, sweat, and tears every game. I had a huge fan base that supported me, no matter where the game took us. It was some of the best times in my life. I’m forever grateful for the time on that mound. Some even called me ‘Special K’… 🥎