The request was a complete surprise. There was an open gym practice at school. Instead of sitting around in study hall waiting for me to pick her up, she decided to hang out in the gym. Sign ups for softball were weeks ago and I immediately dismissed the email because she was signed up for spring soccer. Not to mention the fact she never, ever expressed any interest in softball. In fact, I believe the first time she picked up a real bat and a real softball was two weeks ago.
I needed more information about the team. I asked my daughter to find out when practices are and when the games are played. She talked about softball the entire drive home. It sounded like this…
Do you think I can play softball? Do you think I can still sign up? What day do you think the games are? If the games are on Sunday, can I play? Maybe I can miss some of the soccer games? Do you think Daddy (aka the soccer coach) will be mad? I only need to buy shoes because there are softball gloves in the garage. The practices are in the afternoon before soccer. I can make the practices. I really like softball. And on…and on…and on…
All the info was gathered and the schedules were checked. We determined she could fit in softball in addition to spring soccer, play, Girl Scouts, flute and choir. When she started soccer, it took her a few seasons to learn the fundamentals. I know for certain she is only playing basketball to be around her friends. She told me she did not even like basketball.
Softball seemed different.
On our first round of catch, she was throwing the softball with accuracy. A few times, the ball was thrown so hard it stung my hand. The timid girl, who ducks when a soccer ball comes anywhere near her head, was fielding ground balls. She picked up a bat to show me how to swing. Her swings are smooth and level and she consistently hits the softball.
The assistant softball coach, who is the head basketball coach, stopped me while I was waiting to pick up my daughter from practice. He was pleasantly surprised by her softball ability and joked “Who is this girl? Where did she come from?” Her effort and enthusiasm at softball practice was remarkably different from basketball practice.
The moral of the story: Love what you are doing.