Softball Tryouts

comfort zone dream big dreams softball Nov 15, 2022

Softball was always my favorite and best sport.


I was a pitcher and first baseman. I was a decent batter, a slow runner and naturally, NOT a base stealer. I had some confidence in my ability but certainly not enough to believe that I could make it in the big leagues - you know high school!!


Our high school had approximately 2000 students in just three grades (9th grade was in the junior high building). What were the chances that I would be one of the girls to make the softball team? Stacy was a friend of mine who was an excellent athlete. She excelled in every area of most sports, but she was not socially confident or outgoing. I think she and I had an unspoken understanding that we both knew what it was like to not fit in but in very different ways. She spent hours, days and weeks trying to convince me to attend the softball tryouts when we were in 10th grade. She would practice with me and compliment me on my skills.


For a minute, she actually had me thinking that maybe I did have a chance of making the team.


Instead of remaining positive, I had a nightmare that played over and over in my mind. The girls and the coaches would be looking down their noses and laughing and talking behind my back when I came up to bat or was having a catch. They were all thinking how ridiculous it was that I even showed up thinking I could possibly be a part of the high school team. I was certainly not interested in once again being the butt of others' jokes.


The tryouts were a four day ordeal and at 7am on the fifth day, they would post the names of the girls who had made the team on a bulletin board outside the gym for all to see. The whole idea was nauseating to me but Stacy was persistent and believed in me. After all, she was a star athlete and would know a loser when she saw one. Even though my head screamed not to do it, my heart won out. The day the tryouts began I could hardly hold my nerves in check during the school day. Stacy accompanied me to the tryout and she was my partner when we began warming up by having a catch. Catching and throwing were strengths of mine so I was beginning to relax a bit. Okay, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.


I carefully checked out the competition and thought maybe I wasn’t out of my mind for thinking my dream of being on the team could come true.


That is until the end of the second day, when they told us that the next day we would be running and sliding. Did someone say running? Sliding? I’m out!


I had never slid into a base. For several years, sliding was not allowed in the leagues I played in, so I never had to worry about it. There is no way that I was throwing my body on the ground for all to see. What if my shirt came out and they saw my skin. What if I broke my arm or my leg because I had too much weight to drag to the ground. What if I hurt myself? Sliding was completely out of the question. Who needed to play softball? I’m sure there were other, safer things I could do. The decision was made, I was done with softball and did not return to the tryouts for days 3 and 4 much to Stacy’s dismay.


I lived close enough to walk to high school and every day I would cut through a very large hole in a metal fence that would leave me out on the school track. I would have to walk a little more than halfway around the track to get up to the path that led into the school.


By Day 5, I had resigned myself to the fact that softball would no longer be a part of my life. I had actually forgotten that today was the day that the names would be posted.


It was a foggy, chilly April morning and I stepped onto the track just like I did every morning at 7am. I saw someone starting to walk out of the school and head towards me on the track. I assumed the girl had changed her mind and decided not to go to school that day. A minute later, the figure was running towards me and I realized it was Stacy. She was yelling something but I couldn’t hear what she was saying. Then I remembered that the results were going to be posted. I assumed she was excited to tell me that she had made the Varsity team, instead of Junior Varsity where most sophomores would be placed.


As she got closer, I could hear her yelling “Deb-you made the team!'' Excuse me, I looked over my shoulder to see if another Deb was behind me. I was utterly shocked and confused and told her that it was a really cruel joke. Now she and I were eye to eye. “Your name is on the JV list”. “How could that be, I asked?” I missed half the tryout. I had to see this with my own eyes. She led me over to the board and there it was, my name was really on the list! 


The smile that broke out on my face was as wide as the Grand Canyon as tears of joy trickled down my face.


All while Stacy was saying “You did it! You did it!” “Wow” I thought to myself, “I really did do it!”


Putting yourself out there can be so hard, but so worth it. How will you step out of your comfort zone today?


Until next time,

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