Recently our first softball season came to a close and, though it has been crazy busy, we have come to understand that seriously, we are all about this ball thing. I don't mean I'm the crazy mama climbing the fence to scream at the ump (never saw that, actually) but I did do some screaming for my girl...for a lot of girls both on our team and on opposing teams, for that matter. If we knew those little mud-covered sweethearts, we were cheering them on just as we did our Sassafras. And, especially for a mama who is as un-interesed in the sports as a person can be, it was all just shockingly fun!
This wasn't our first venture into the sports arena. Sass has taken dance and baton, done cheer and basketball, and she played a tiny bit of fall softball last year for a few weeks. Pearl Girl has cheered as well as taken swim. So it wasn't our first time with the organized sports, and I've tried to figure out what made it so different. Maybe the length and intensity? It was just the first time one of the girls' activities has largely taken over our whole life. And while we may not have actually known what all we were getting into when we signed up for ball, it has been a season to remember for sure.
I love all that Sassafras learned about herself, about other people, and about working as a team. She understood the importance of listening to her coaches and obeying what they told her to do, even if it didn't make any sense to her in that moment. She learned the meaning and value of hard work, when it's hot and dusty or when the field is covered in 4 inches of mud. She learned the importance of perseverance, about hanging in there for her team and running on/off the field even when they were being killed out there. She learned the importance of being tough and keeping it together, when she was frustrated because the decades-old catching equipment fell off of her every time she moved, or when she'd really rather have come sit in my lap and cried about the fact that a ball just smashed her throat or fingers. She learned the importance of completing something she committed to, and the priceless value of a word (or shout) of encouragement to or from her teammates when one was up to bat or getting ready to pitch. And she learned how good it feels, after going through a few strikeouts, to perfectly and beautifully smash a ball.
She also learned that sometimes, the easiest way to get on base is to get hit by a pitch. Heh heh.
I don't know what Sassypants would say is biggest thing she learned with softball this season. She's asleep or I'd totally go ask her. I think, though, that she learned the importance of understanding whatever you are, wherever you are, be the very best of that thing you know how to be.
It's pretty safe to say we ALL learned quite a bit, about the sport itself and about ballpark culture. Also, now her mama knows softballs are neon yellow as well as the meaning of things like "8U" and "bring 'em in" and "pop fly" and "ump" so miracles happen every day, folks.