This I Believe

Caitlin - Chiago, Illinois
Entered on February 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Bigger than Yourself

When I was five years old, my father signed me up for a t-ball league at a local park. I doubt he had any motivation for this rather than to give me something to do and, with any luck, pass down the game that he loved to me. If I liked it, great; I would be able to continue playing and share the game with him. If I didn’t, it was no big deal; I would move on to other things that I enjoyed.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the game; consequently, it didn’t take long for me to learn the value of teamwork and self-sacrifice. Since my first season of t-ball, I haven’t spent a summer without it. Over time, as my passion grew deeper, my will to win grew stronger. I learned how to bunt, how to hit the cutoff, and how to turn a double play. More importantly, I learned that the fate of the team was more important than my personal success and that sometimes, as they say in baseball, you have to take one for the team.

Being a part of a team teaches one the importance of sacrifice. Sometimes, to help the cause of the group, you have to give up something you love or do something you don’t want to. In softball, it’s not always easy to be bumped down in the batting order when you’re in a slump or to lay down a bunt when you have a hot bat. You come to understand that your coaches ask you to do these things for the sake of the group. You become a more selfless person as the game teaches you to be happy for the team and you teammates when they succeed, even if you weren’t a vital part of the effort. It taught me to be committed to the group and its goals, because a team is only successful when its members are dedicated to its success.

The friendships I have carried with my teammates throughout my softball career have remained strong over years thanks to the nature of the game. As part of a group, you inevitably bond with your peers. The members of the group look out for each other and support one another. It proves the power of people coming together for a common goal. I think being part of a group has made me a more likeable person and a better friend.

When my father got me into softball, I doubt he could have anticipated not only how much I love the game today, but also how many lessons I have taken from it. I believe that everyone should take part in something bigger than himself or herself at some point. I chose to be a part of a softball team. Another person might practice a religion or campaign for a cause. No matter how big or small their group, no matter what the result, anyone who takes part in something bigger than themselves will benefit from the lessons they can take from it.