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“Base hit to right field. The shortstop is rounding second; he’s only a few feet away from home plate. Here comes the throw.”
This was my ideal softball scenario, something that I’ve seen on television many times. Unfortunately, this took me a long time to accomplish.
I didn’t begin playing softball until I was thirteen. But through watching baseball and playing sandlot ball with my friends I instantly fell in love with the game. In eighth grade I decided to try out for the school’s softball team. However, due to plummeting grades my mother forbade me from trying out. She said “Grades are first and foremost. Committing to an after school sport will only hinder you from studying.” I realized that she was right. I had to improve my grades or else I would never get to play. Soon, I gave up playing videogames, formed a study group, and devised new study methods. By ninth grade, I became a study expert and my grades were consistently in the A range.
Time flew by fast. In a year I was ready for softball tryouts. Surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous. I am ready. Finally, I can play real, organized softball and be like those major league players that I saw on television. But, I was instantly proven wrong.
I made a fool out of myself at the tryouts. My confidence rapidly fell down the drain. I realized that I could barely catch a softball, never mind throw one to first base. The other people on the team didn’t let me forget that either. Since I went out for the team all by myself, I had no friends on the team. All I had were the same few “popular” girls that made fun of me ever since elementary school.
I toiled through the five days of tryouts. Even though it was only five days it felt like five months. I became so desperate that I even tried pitching, something that I have never done before. But I knew I had to stick it out. I could not fail again. But, in the end, I did. I was cut off the team. Since then I realized that watching softball and truly playing it were two entirely different things. I underestimated the sport and overestimated myself.
But still, I tried to stay positive. I kept repeating to myself “this is just a minor setback, no harm done.” Also, I got to know a girl in my class from going to softball tryouts. Although she made the team and I didn’t, we became fast friends. She promised to help me improve my skills and encouraged me to try again next year.
The subsequent summer I kept playing softball until I could take it no longer. I felt sweat, frustration, and immense heat for the first time in my life. I was never an athletic person and was always used to being indoors with air conditioning blowing in my face. Then, during the winter I bundled up in bulky ski jackets and sweatshirts so I could play softball twice a week. By then, my arm became a lot stronger. At last, I could throw a ball straight to my target.
Once again time went by too fast. Softball season was approaching. Weeks before the tryouts my hands were already trembling with fear. I couldn’t face the same people who had humiliated me during my freshman year. But at the same time, I couldn’t let all my hard work go to waste. When the week of tryouts came I decided to swallow my pride and face the impossible.
But, even though this time I was adequately prepared for the tryouts I was thrown a major set back in my path. On my first day of tryouts, out of pure anxiety and unease, I misjudged a fly ball and it hit my head. Although surprisingly, my head didn’t hurt, my parents were very frustrated with me. They told me that I could have a concussion and might get permanent brain damage. I was to get a MRI and to quit tryouts. Spontaneously, my tears began burning hot, wet stains all over my homework.
Luckily, my MRI came out fine and I was the same as before. I tried out again next week and made the Junior Varsity team. However, I was not satisfied. I couldn’t help but think that I only made the team out of sympathy. My friend assured me that it was because they remembered me from last year and I improved a tremendous amount. But, I couldn’t believe her and made myself work harder than ever. But once again fate was not on my side. Less than a week later I injured my thumb. Although it was only a bruise, it was painful to write and throw softballs for over two weeks. Still, I would not let this be the end of my season. I decided to wear a splint during school and let my thumb move reluctantly at softball practice.
After a while, my thumb felt better and yet I found myself as the bench warmer who was the worse player on the team. I was the outcast who messed up all our games. But worse, I no longer had an excuse for my poor skills. Whatever I did wrong was all me. Strike out after strike out occurred at every game. I became overwhelmingly frustrated. But, fortunately my coach never gave up on me. Once I asked her for batting and fielding help she immediately let me stay longer after practice so she could help me correct my problems.
Soon, my luck changed. After months of constant struggle and late nights I finally did it. I became a hitter and a star outfielder.
“Double base hit to right field!”
This is no longer impossible.