I’ve spent a LOT of my weekends in the spring and summer on dusty, hot, and sometimes rainy and muddy softball fields watching Elle and her softball team “do their thing”.
The thing is, this year, their “thing” hasn’t often resulted in a “win”. They currently have a record of 3 and 15.
And, while on the surface, they smile and hug and high five each other at the end of each game regardless of outcome, at home…well, at home the story is just a little different. They second guess themselves; they replay strategies and missed plays in their lovely heads; AND (luckily!) relive – with joy – those moments when it all clicks and comes together.
Trust me – they don’t dwell on the negative stuff very long (which is a skill those of us above that “14 & Under” range could use to relearn)!
But it occurred to me today that, if I ever had the chance to deliver that game-winning, half-time speech to them (and yea, I’m well aware there’s no half-time in softball – just humor me here), I would simply want them to know a few life lessons that come from playing this crazy, cool game as they continue to grow up and become the beautiful and amazing women I know they are going to be. And here’s what I’d want them to know:
1. People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think they do. (Hint: It isn’t all about you, and I mean that in the sweetest, most loving way possible!) Because, you see, EVERYONE makes mistakes. That might shock you to hear right now, but it’s true. And 99% of the time, they didn’t even notice yours. And if they did, they are too worried analyzing their own missteps and errors to recall yours after about 15 seconds after it occurred. Seriously. I don’t make this stuff up. I totally PROMISE.
2. The interesting (and somewhat unfortunate) flip side of that is that those same people don’t remember your successes as much as you’d like them to. Remember #1 above – it isn’t all about you? Yeah. Well, great job and all – whatever your success is/was – but, you (and probably your parents…!) are most likely going to be the only one(s) replaying your amazing grab or grand slam home run come next season. Sorry to have to say that. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome and amazing. Just means life has a lot more to give you than that. Believe it. And trust me, your “home runs” later will make the ones you make right now completely pale in comparison!
3. The slope of a line really does matter. That little lesson you learned in math class this year about “y=mx+b” ? Well, let me explain it in “real life” terms. Here’s what it really means: the more effort you put into something, the greater the results you’ll get out of it. Therefore, the slope infinitely rises in quandrant 1. Here’s the simple reality of that equation: Trying hard = good results. Anything less than that, and you end up below the x-axis. (Parents – I think you may either need to be in algebra yourself at the moment, or have done this homework with your 14-year old very recently to know what I am saying here. But trust me, I know what I’m talking about and so will your kiddos – as long as you taught them well…;) )
4. The bench is a great place to learn. (THIS ONE MIGHT JUST BE MY FAVE.) I mean it. Just because you are on the bench for an inning or two, or even for a game, it doesn’t mean you aren’t great at what you do. Doesn’t mean you aren’t an integral part of the team. It just means you need to take a turn giving someone else a chance. So, maybe YOU should take that chance to watch and maybe pick up a few new tricks, AND remind yourself of what you DON’T want to do once you get back in the game. It builds character and teaches you the GIFT of humility (notice I didn’t say humiliation – unless you act all ugly about sitting there…then you WILL learn a little about humiliation). Make the most of your time on the bench. Don’t wish it away, resent it, or go all “it’s not fair” about it. Use it and improve because of it. Everyone needs a break, you know.
5. It’s just a game. I know it feels important. I know you want to win. And I want you to win, too. But if you don’t win this time, realize there’s always another chance. And you have what it takes to make it great. So don’t get all caught up in the stats. Miracles happen. ALL THE TIME.
6. Celebrate and relish the win when it happens but don’t spend too much time worshipping it. You can’t take it with you – it’s just a stat. The important thing is that you keep the win in perspective, show grace in the victory, and move forward with proper perspective. And smile. Because everyone feels better when you do. Especially you.
So there you have it. Everything you need to know to make it through 14U softball, and maybe even possibly through life.
Oh, and GO PHILLIES!!!!
We are in our 7th week of Pure Joy this week! Can you even believe it?! And if you are following along with us in our summer Pure Joy series, the following info IS FOR YOU!!
- Find or print our scripture card of the week (click here to print it!). SAY IT AND PRAY IT, sister friends! Get that word down into your heart.
- Keep reading Notes from the Blue Bike! Soooo rich!
- Come visit us at Jazz at the Park in Glen Ellyn this Wednesday night! It’s going to be a beauuuuutiful night!
- Click this link for a great cover tune by Jimmy Needham, “How Sweet It Is”! This guy is so darn cute! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsoEMmrTLCI
Peace, love, and JOY!!!