I have been playing softball ever since I was nine-years old. As I got older and the competition became more competitive, the more I fell in love with the sport. My goal was to continue to play softball in college; and I was determined to reach it. Since I was ten I played for the Amateur Softball Association, (A.S.A (which is an organization for traveling softball teams around the country)) I was playing on a team I had been on for three years. My dad was one of the main coaches, and he was the only person I had really ever played for. During the fall of my junior year in high school, another A.S.A team had been very interested in me and wanted me to play for them. This team was not just “any team,” they were ranked as one of the most prestigious travel teams in the country, and I was honored that they had wanted me to play for them. After weeks of debating whether or not it would be a good decision, I finally decided to give it a shot, my dad stopped coaching, and we left our team.
I believe that hard work pays off in the end, and I proved it to myself after I had been noticed by other teams and coaches. Due to the fact that I had practiced and played hard, I ended up belonging to an extremely talented team who was noticed by scouts all around the country.
Unfortunately for me, my reward did not last as long as I had expected. Since I was now playing on a better team, my confidence got the best of me and showed in my performance on the field. I felt as if I didn’t need to work as hard outside of practice and on off days because I was already “good enough.” The very first tournament with my new team we played about four to five games and I was nervous and focused on impressing my new coaches, I was not playing how I usually played. I struck out every single time I went up to bat…every single time. That summer while I was playing for my old team, I struck out no more than three times, the whole summer. After our games, the coach talked to me and could tell I was trying too hard; it was my first tournament on a brand new team, so forgot about it and moved on.
That was their last tournament for the fall, and High School ball would be starting soon, so it was time for a break with my new travel team. I continued to keep the same poor work ethic I did in the fall with my High School team simply because I didn’t think I needed the extra work. This did not affect me in High School like it did with my travel team because my High School softball team was not nearly as good as my club team, so I got away with not putting in the extra effort.
After High School ball I started up with my travel team in the summer. Due to my performance in the only tournament I played in with them, the coach told me I would have to earn my playing time, and not to plan on starting anytime soon. He should have just said “Don’t plan on playing the entire summer,” because unfortunately, that’s what happened.
That summer I worked the hardest I had ever worked in my life. I hit in my garage at home every day, I practiced on off days, and my hard work began to show in practice. Yet, my coach did not seem to notice it. Throughout the entire summer I hardly ever played, he mostly put me in as a pinch runner, and that was all I did. Our team qualified for nationals in August,
And from all the extra work I had put in, I felt as if I deserved to play. Unfortunately my coach thought otherwise, and I only played two games the entire week we were in Nationals.
My coach never gave me that second chance to show what type of player I really was, the player he saw when he wanted me to play for his team. Being on that team was one of the worst experiences I had ever gone through; I had never worked so hard before, and got nothing in return. I left that team right after our national tournament. Even though I disliked the coach and the lack of confidence he had in me, playing for that team helped me become the player I am today.
Looking back on all the extra effort I put into earning a starting position for that team, I realize how beneficial it all was for me as a player. Now I am playing softball for Central Arizona College, one of the best community colleges in the country. I plan to continue to play softball for a D1 university after my two years here at Central, and I know what I have to do in order to reach that goal. I always tell myself “Hard work will pay off in the end,” and with that I know I’ll be rewarded.
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