The end of softball season is drawing near for colleges and most high schools, and with it, many of you will play your final softball game – ever. Join me in a heartfelt Thank You to all senior softball players everywhere!
You might attend a Senior Night, be given your school jersey with a bunch of flowers and walk out onto your field with your parents. But for thousands of you all over this country, once the lights go out and the final inning is played, softball will be over. Some of you might have played since you were 8 or 9, and you’re emotionally attached to a game you’ll no longer have a chance to play. That’s gonna be tough.
Walking away from something you love is never easy, especially when it isn’t your idea to end it! It’s always harder to do something at a higher level, softball included, because there are fewer opportunities. College & professional softball is no different, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept an end that isn’t your idea. It’s liked getting dumped – it’s not your idea and it feels like the end of the world. But eventually you move on and get over it, it just takes a while.
Some of you will go on and play college or professional softball, but not many, and while lots of you dream of doing so, it just isn’t something that most of you will ever do.
So first, let’s take a look at the numbers to see just how very special you are have been a softball player in either high school or college:
- High School Softball:
- There are 366,685 softball players in high school programs across the country. (according to ncaa.com)
- Only half of all high school students ever play a sport (via Jason Koebler, US News & World Report)
- College Softball:
- There are only 31,406 college softball players in all 3 NCAA divisions, NAIA & NJCAA.
- That means only 5.4% of high school softball players ever play softball at any NCAA level! (ncaa.com)
- And only 1.6% of high school softball players play softball at NCAA Division I, or Division II and only 2.1% play softball at Division III! (ncaa.com)
- Professional Softball:
- Only 90 players get to play professional softball on one of the 5 teams in in the NPF!
- USA Softball National Team
- Only 20 players get the honor of representing the US on our national team.
- And only 16 fortunate few will be on our 2020 Olympic Softball Team!
While your softball journey will be ending soon and you’ll be leaving a game you’ve played since you were a little girl, you won’t be leaving empty-handed. Your journey through the sport of softball has given you many skills that are useful beyond the diamond – skills that will help you for the rest of your life!
Before the final out is played, and while there’s still a little time left in your softball career, I’d like to say Thank You for putting so much of your heart, your soul and your effort into playing a game that can be fun, rewarding, challenging, frustrating and yet on certain days – the best game ever!
So, to every senior softball player out there, on behalf of your teammates, your coaches, your fans and your family – here’s my sincere THANK YOU!!
- THANK YOU for sacrificing so much of your personal life for softball – you’ve given up dances and going to the movies, and hanging out with your friends and you’ve definitely given up sleep in order to go to all the practices, workouts and games. There will be many more sacrifices in your life and thanks to the ones you’ve already made in softball you’re ready to take those on, all the while knowing how very capable you are of doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
- THANK YOU for playing a team sport and helping make others around you better – this is a skill that will serve you very well in life, since life is a team sport. As a senior, part of being a great teammate was being a leader and you had to take on more leadership than you might have wanted to, and for that we thank you! Leading is always hard, never mind when you might have been struggling yourself, but thinking of others and helping people around you are traits that will serve you well throughout your life. And whether it’s your future family or your future workplace, being a great team player is one of the best things softball could have given you!
- THANK YOU for struggling through the failures we all face when learning a sport, but many of us don’t have to struggle through much so we give up and we stop. You kept going, kept struggling and worked through it to make your skill better, and in so doing, you’ve made your belief in yourself stronger. Life takes confidence and belief to face the challenges that lie ahead, so you’ve given yourself a head start for all the times in the future when you’ll need to play the super-hero!
- THANK YOU for being a competitor and developing your never-give-up skills. Trust me, those will come in handy – a lot! There’s nothing easy about being down 5 runs in the 7th inning and still trying to win. But the “still trying to win” part is where the value comes. That’s the secret sauce that will help you keep going for that future promotion you believe you deserve, or plowing through the insurance chaos to make sure one of your kids get the treatment they need, or finally finding the right assisted care facility for your aging parents, after trying out 15 that didn’t care about your mom and dad. Softball has taught you how to keep going no matter what – and take it from an old former player – that might be the most useful skill of all!
- THANK YOU for believing in yourself, your teammates and your coaching staff. You believed in your parents who helped make it possible for you to play. You believed in your teammates every time you stood and did a cheer, or high-fived someone who needed your support. You believed in your coaches when you listened to their instruction and did your very best. And finally, you believed in yourself when you kept trying when the trying got hard – sometimes real hard. Belief is simply doing or thinking something when you don’t have proof it will work – but you do it or think it anyway! It’s called faith – believing something when you don’t have any proof it exists. But you DO have proof – you played softball!
Life is Sacrificing, Cooperating, Struggling, Never Giving Up and finally Believing. Those 5 skills you were fortunate to have learned on the ballfield playing with a bunch of friends, some of whom you may stay in contact with for the rest of your life.
While you’ll be leaving the sport a stronger person, better equipped to take on your future, keep in mind the skills you’ve learned that don’t involve short-hops, riseballs or line drives. Life skills that you’ll use over and over again as you build your career, family and future life. You CAN do it, and you can do it BIG! Believe in yourself and remember that you’ve left the sport of softball in a better place and for that we THANK YOU.
It was a pleasure to watch you play!!
For more help thanking your softball seniors, check out: