Play Ball!

October 24, 2020

Well Little League softball is over. This week we played our final game of the 2020 Spring season. COVID19 and the quarantine and shut down delayed us so it really became Fall season. This was the season that almost never started, and I wish didn’t have to end.

Coach Bill and Coach Randy led the team to several victories, and some tough losses. Both have strong backgrounds playing baseball, and they brought their expertise to field. The players, your daughters, The Stingrays, were blessed to have such talented, dedicated coaches.

Then there was me, Coach Sandie. I wasn’t a softball player on a team growing up. Almost everything I know about softball, I learned right at our Little League field watching all 3 of my girls play. I’ve been dugout mom for several different teams and coaches through the years. I’ve figured a few things out along the way, and thankfully there has been enough grace to cover many of my dugout mistakes.

I’ve enjoyed working with The Stingrays more than I can say. I told Bill and Randy that I can’t believe I don’t have even one pic of me with team. How did that not happen?! But I’ve watched your girls, and I want to tell you what I think of them (in no particular order).

Trinity. I think you were the last one to join the team, and I’m so glad you did. I hope you practice pitching in the off season because I think you are focused enough to do well with that if you set your mind to it. I like how excited you get when the game is going well. I’ve also seen you beat yourself up over small mistakes that aren’t really worth the energy you waste on them. You’re a good player. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Phoebe. I went back to see what I wrote about you last year. “You’re a better player than you give yourself credit for. Your opponents will be in trouble when your confidence catches up with your great skill.” I think you still have room to grow (we all do), but girl you shocked me with your confidence on the field this year, and I’m proud of your performance. Well done.

Ashely. Way to go catching that pop fly for the out! You showed consistent growth this season with a consistent good attitude and team spirit. I don’t think I ever heard you bellyache about anything. You played your positions and you played them well. You’re a joy to have in the dugout, and an asset on the field.

Aniston with one N. I’m sorry I misspelled your name the first few games. You’re a quiet talent. I didn’t know if I’d see much personality out of you at first, but it was refreshing to see you come into your own during the season. Once you got used to us, you felt more comfortable and we got to know you better. You’re steady and reliable and thoughtful in the way you approach the game. Thanks for letting us see that.

Abbie. you’re a coachable player. Instruct you once and you generally don’t have to be instructed again. And you demonstrate a good team attitude by wanting to play where you’ll help the team the most. Remember that one unfortunate at-bat does not define you as a player. So don’t let a strike out harden your tender heart. It’s one of your best assets.

Brelyn. You’re a character. I adore your spunk and excitement. Ball players are superstitious people, and I think you should always write your name in the dirt before games, and then you should dance on your name after the games. There’s no power in superstition. But why not just mark the field as your territory, and claim victories before they even happen? You’re going to have lots of victories.

Payton. You perform well no matter where you play. You’re a well rounded, valuable player. You were almost always ready when I needed you to be ready, and the only time you weren’t was when your dug out coach wasn’t quick helping you get your catcher’s gear on. The team was lucky to have you because of your go-getter spirit and drive.

Aliyah. You’ve got an arm! Being the pitcher isn’t easy, but you never complained about being worn out or about the pressure you were under. And since you understand pitching pressure, you always loudly encouraged the other pitchers, and never begrudged them being in the circle instead of you. You are a genuinely kind person with a quick smile and genuine love for the game and your teammates.

Ava. You just love to disagree with me, don’t you? You’re probably disagreeing right now. I don’t know why such a strong home run hitter like you doesn’t believe in yourself the way your teammates believe in you. I saw you hit home runs last year, and it wasn’t coach-pitch. You hit home runs against player-pitch. Yes you did. Stop disagreeing. I hope next year you never say “I can’t,” because I know that you can. Yes you can. Just stop.

Elly with a y. Sorry I misspelled your name, too. If ever there was a natural athlete, you’re sure one. You never played half-heartedly even after a full day of volleyball or after playing for your other softball team. You’re a strong player in every position, and you never give up. You’re encouraging voice in the dugout pushes your teammates to play even harder than they thought they could.

Mackenzie. You’re a powerhouse. You’re a great player and you know it, but you never use your strength to make other feel weak. When you’re catching behind the plate, you always talk to your pitcher to help them stay focused. And I hear your voice in the outfield calling to your teammates. Strong communication makes a strong team. Use that strong skill in life and you’ll always be great leader.

Emily. I remember when you used to swing the bat. Mom misses your mojo, on the field and at home. Softball, like life, is a team sport. But the sport is won and lost in the mind games you play against yourself. But you never once made me feel like you wished your obnoxious mom wasn’t in the dugout, and I thank you for that.

Thank you parents and players for a wonderful season. Be safe over the holidays. See you on the field.

Treasure Seeker,

Coach Sandie

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