Last Season's End Forever in Sight

Two years ago, my younger daughter, Antonia, came home from school and said, “I want to play softball.”

We aren’t a family of athletes. We dance, sing, read, write, and make art.  I was at a loss.
 
I said, “OK. Let me check into it.”
 
She said, “Izzy said it starts tomorrow.”
 
Her friend Izzy was the inspiration for her desire to play.  And I thank her for it, to this day.
 
There are many reasons kids benefit from playing team sports—exercise, goal setting, working with a group.  For adolescents, team sports can lead to success later in life:
 
"A study conducted by the Women's Sports Foundation found that adolescents that were regularly involved in teen sports were less likely to engage in sexual activity until later in life than those who were not in team sports. Also, teens on sport teams were found to be less likely to use drugs than their non-playing counterparts, and were less likely to be involved in abusive relationships. In addition, the students involved in sports had a higher chance of graduating high school and college."
 
Scientific benefits aside, my girls love it!  And I do, too, for there are many “parenting moments” that arise during softball season--opportunities to celebrate their wins, support them in their losses, and point out progress they’ve made after every game.  Also, softball has a way of making great memories.
 
Last year both Sophia's and Antonia's teams made it to the G.Y.A.A. finals.  Both girls had their first of many experiences grabbing the ball from the air and getting an “out.” And, Antonia had her first of many hits made during game-play.  
 
Sophia could consistently hit during practice but failed to make contact with the ball during any of her games. . . . Until the last play of her final game, the one for the G.Y.A.A. Title:

Bottom of the last inning.  Score tied, 2-2.  Two outs.  Sophia was up at bat.

I was scared for her and upset for her knowing that she so desperately wanted to make contact with the ball during a game just once.  How could it come down to this--her final up at her final game was her final chance? And winning the conference final depended upon her successful hit?

Her coach shouted from first base, “You can do it, Sophia! Stay low. Keep your eye on the ball. You can do it!”

He clapped his hands with encouragement, I stood up, and my stomach jumped to my throat.  Pitch, swing, and. . . (read more)

 



Kimberly at Sperk*

 

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