|Posted by Pitbulls Fastpitch on June 1, 2019 at 9:00 PM||comments (4)|
Most of us athletes spent every weekend at different tournaments, practices and games. My teams used to practice at least three times a week and then we traveled all weekend to play at least three games a day. As athletes, we collected different things from the sports we love. Throughout our time, we collected friends, memories, MVP awards and trophies along with scars and bruises we couldn’t wait to show off to our friends.
Throughout my years as an athlete, my coaches always told me "play every game like it's your last." Being young, I never really understood the meaning of that phrase, but now that my time with the sport I love is running low, I get what they meant by it.
I never pictured my days as an athlete being over. I never imagined putting my glove away in the attic until I have kids or until I can make time to play in a “beer league.” I never imagined throwing away my lucky slides or all of my socks with holes in the bottom of the heels from wear. I never imagined putting aside the game that taught me so much for a real job and the real world. I never thought about what I would do with my weekends or what it would be like to not have a farmer’s tan from my jersey and a glove tan line. These things never came to mind until I sat down one day, took a look at my senior schedule and saw the very last game on the bottom of the sheet. Right then and there I realized that this is it. The game that shaped me into the person I am will be put on the back burner. The game that took up my entire day whether it was two-a-days, games five hours away or hitting in a beat-up warehouse will soon be just a memory.
I don’t want to forget what it feels like to hit the ball perfectly off the sweet spot of my bat, I don’t want to forget the sound of a glove popping after catching a hard throw, I don’t want to forget what it feels like to get hit by a pitch or walked because they’re scared to throw to you. I don’t want to forget the feeling of the game.
While I will always find a way to be around the game I fell in love with, the game that shaped me, it won’t be the same. I won’t be in the dugout freezing or sweating in between innings, I won’t be the player rounding first base, I won’t be the player diving for balls in the holes. Instead, I’ll be on the other side of the fence feeling nostalgic not about how many home runs I hit, not about how many wins and losses we had, not about how many errors were made, but about what it’s like to be able to go to the field and pick up a bat and a ball to take your mind off of things, and, more importantly, what it’s like to have a family away from home.
One day, after the last inning I play, I’m going to wake up wishing I had to be in the gym by 5 am for conditioning, I’m going to wake up wanting to drive over three hours on a bus, I’m going to wake up wishing there was a way to go back to the beginning and start all over. One day I’m going to wake up and realize that it’s all over.
To those who still have time, make the most of it. Swing hard, work hard and play hard because one day, the sport you love, the one that gave you everything, will be over. It won’t be your life anymore. When that day comes, make sure you don’t have a single regret.
To the game I love that is coming to an end, thank you for being my constant.
The little person who never quit.
-Written & published by Julie Heaton, 18U Black Head Coach
Julie Heaton Pitbulls Fastpitch Coach
Joined Coaching Staff 2018
To read original article, https://www.theodysseyonline.com/to-the-game-love-thats-coming-to-an-end
|Posted by Pitbulls Fastpitch on May 20, 2019 at 9:00 PM||comments (2)|
Hello everyone! I am really excited to be at my third Pitbulls Banquet. I vividly remember sitting in the same room with my teammates and coaches, and accepting the “No I in Team Award”, and being named a team captain on this stage. I also vividly remember my life before becoming a Pitbull. I was not a Pitbulls athlete until my junior year of high school. It would have been a dream come true to play four years at this organization. I was starting varsity as a first basemen and hitting clean up as a freshman. But when I was a sophomore, I was out of commission for 14 months with a neck and shoulder injury. I was told I would never play ball again. I was told to look at my arm turning purple and realistic” and what I should really be worried about was “how I was going to carry groceries in my house one day."
To every athlete that understands the importance of timing when it comes to the recruiting process, you can all understand the fear I had of losing the opportunity to play softball beyond high school. When I was ready to return to the field, I had not been able to throw a ball, swing a bat, or run to first base in well over a year. As I researched teams at home, desperately looking for a team in New Jersey with open roster spots, I discovered a website Iʼll never forget.
I wasnʼt familiar with the recruiting process, but I was familiar with people in my class committing for sports and I was not. This team advertised “100% commitment of the senior class”. I didnʼt know their methods, but I knew they were doing something right. I knew that if I could become a part of this organization I would have an opportunity to reach my goals. However, I could not promise them a solid try out. I could not promise them a seamless performance. The only thing I could make evident was my appreciation to be on the diamond, and my willingness to work hard.
I can stand here and tell you today, that it worked. I can also tell you today that the very same work ethic allowed me to be recruited and make a commitment my junior year. The same work ethic made me a captain the following year. The same work ethic made me a coach the year after that. And this year, that work ethic made me an administrator.
Pitbulls is different for a lot of reasons, but thereʼs one in particular that makes me so passionate about this organization. Pitbulls focuses on what you could be, rather than what youʼre not. Youʼre not everything. Thatʼs why thereʼs nine girls on the field that bring something unique to the table. But thatʼs okay. In fact, thatʼs great. Because this world wants to focus on what youʼre not. You will always hear people say “yeah she can do that, but she canʼt do this”. Thatʼs something you wonʼt hear, here.
There were a lot of things I did not have polished up when I tried out. But that wasnʼt the focus. The focus was, what can we do with an athlete that refuses to give up, accompanied with a positive attitude? The answer is, a lot of things. I never coached girls of our age groups prior to coaching here. But no one was worried about what I hadn’t done, but what I could do. And I can honestly stand up here and tell you I have never been an administrator until now. But no one has been worried.
Today we are here to celebrate all of you, because of what weʼre excited to see you work towards this summer. But if there is one thing I want you to all take with you, it is no matter where you go, you can only control two things: your effort and your attitude. And those two things will allow you to accomplish more than you may realize today.
- Written and delivered by Lauren Warner, Pitbulls Fastpitch Recruiting Counselor, at the 2019 Black & Gold Banquet.
Lauren Warner, Recruiting Counselor
2016 Pitbulls Fastpitch Graduate
Joined Coaching Staff in 2017