At home I put on my clean Fury uniform and make sure I look tough in the mirror. At the field the game begins and my team is up first. I step up to the plate as the fourth batter and the parents begin to cheer.
“Come on Paige! Hit Marissa home!”
“Lets go Paige! Big hit!”
I wait for a high fastball. It’s the only pitch that ten year olds can throw. I hold back my bat and take a huge swing resulting with another home run. It was normal. I played because I was good, and most people thought I was.
It’s been 4 years since that game, but I still try to convince myself I’m good. But I’ve stopped playing for the glory.
When I dig my cleat into the pitchers mound and run my fingers over the laces, I feel at home, like I know what I’m doing. Muscle memory takes over and my pitch is free and relaxed, but still fast and accurate. My stress is gone and any bad energy that I’m holding gets released with each relieving, “STRIKE!”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all easy and relaxing. In travel softball at this age, we don’t just look tough, we are tough. Everyone knows what they’re doing and those high fastballs no longer exist. Whether it’s a drop ball, riser, changeup, curve, or screw ball, it’s no longer easy. Now, to be known as a great player, you have to be great, not lucky. I’m no longer sure how great I am.
I believe in playing for the love of the game. Whether you’re good or bad, you should play because you enjoy what you do. And if it so happens that you are great, you should pursue it.