Time to share my passions with you! Softball. That’s where it all started, and that’s why I’m here. Softball to me is so much more than just a sport. It’s a symbol of hard work, dedication, leadership, and of course, passion.
It started for me in seventh grade. I was a “pitcher” who needed some work, to put it nicely. My practice sessions were laughable, looking back at it now. I would throw to my dad in the yard, and although I could throw hard, I had zero accuracy. This resulted in my mom chasing down all the softballs that made it past my dad, and my brother and sister as a second line of backup for poorly thrown balls. One day, a couple moved into the house next door to me. Day after day practicing, we noticed the man watching from his porch. Understandably so, considering the entertainment factor of the spectacle. After awhile, the man decided it was time to intervene. He walked across our yards and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Mr. M. Do you want some help with your pitching?” And so it began.
Mr. M. not only showed me the proper techniques I needed to become successful at softball, but he took on the role of a mentor to me. Through Mr. M. and our shared passion of softball, I learned the value of hard work, dedication, and leadership. The point that I realized that softball was more to me than a sport was a result of the day that I found out Mr. M. had gotten cancer. Our training sessions continued, but gradually became limited due to the effects of the cancer. It became harder for him to catch for me as time went on, so my dad began coming over more often to catch for me. At the times that Mr. M. could not come to training sessions, my dad and I decided that before we would begin practice, we would pray together at the cage. This was an extremely impactful moment in my life, and this was when I realized that softball was so much more than just practicing and games.
After this, I began to catch for the younger softball pitchers that Mr. M. coached. I took on the role of a mentor for these girls, leading by example and helping coach them along the way. I wanted to offer these girls what Mr. M. had given me. Passion. I wanted to pay forward the experience that I had and share it with others. It wasn’t a secret either. People saw the progress that I had made because of Mr. M’s guidance. I went from a girl who couldn’t throw a strike to an All-Conference athlete. However, this change wasn’t the important one that occurred. The real change for me was internal. It gave me a whole new perspective, and encouraged me to become more involved not only in softball, but in other aspects of my community as well. For me, softball was the experience that made me realize the impact that one person can have on so many lives. Mr. M. changed my life through softball, and from that moment on, influencing others through softball became my passion.