I remember the smell of the leather of my glove, the feeling of the ball’s laces on my fingers, and the crisp “pop” the ball would make when it hit the glove. More importantly, I remember the focus, dedication, and encouragement of the person catching the ball—my dad. For eight years my dad helped me to become the best pitcher I could be. For eight years my dad would venture out into the wind, rain, sun, and snow to be my catcher.
There were times when I did not want his help or would joke about him being an “overly obsessed softball dad.” There were times when he pushed me farther than I wanted to go, and there were times when I did not want him to come to a game. There were even times when I thought he was crazy. The week before one of my tournaments he drove me over to the park where I would play and made me pitch from every mound in the park just to get ready. Yet, I know that I would not have gotten as far without him. I remember seeing him in the stands when no other parents were there. He would get out his rally hat or pace around behind the stands, often more nervous than I. During some memorable moments in my career, when I pitched a no-hitter or lead my team to a tournament victory I remember seeing how especially proud he was. My sophomore year of high school I pitched a shutout against our archrivals, whom we had not won a game against for over ten years. After the game I remember seeing how proud he was of me. At that point it I knew I was there because of him, because of his love and support.
My softball days are long since past and my ball and glove are now stored away in a dusty box in the garage, but the support I received from my dad is still a prominent factor in my life. Although currently he is a thousand miles away, my dad is still there “in the stands,” sometimes pacing nervously, while other times donning his rally hat, cheering me on. My dad has instilled within me the courage to take big steps, the empowerment to chase my dreams, and the belief that I can accomplish my goals. With his support I have been able to step out into the world and be the person I want to be, all while knowing that he is there to be my “catcher” when I need him.
I believe in support. I believe in the people that give support, and I believe that support is invaluable in my life. This has made me want to be there for others. I have been the pitcher, now I am ready to be the catcher. I believe in being a catcher.
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