Another season of women’s college softball has wrapped up. The Florida State team won its first ever championship Tuesday night against the Washington Huskies.
The entire postseason proved exciting to watch. I tuned in to as many games as I could, reliving my college days.
I also gathered with some of the girls participating in Cloud Peak Fastpitch to watch a game on opening night of the Women’s College World Series. They, along with some of the parents, expressed awe and fascination with the game, which is a little foreign to Sheridan. Sheridan has long had a slowpitch girls softball program, but you can only play until eighth grade.
It’s tough to convince girls and their families to invest time and money in a sport they can only play until they enter high school.
One thing that stood out to me throughout the championship series this week — all of which was televised live on ESPN, by the way — was one of the features included in the broadcasts.
The broadcasters, or the NCAA maybe, asked some of the key players to write a letter to softball. Some of the women then read their letters on camera. Some had tears in their eyes as they realized their careers as softball athletes would be coming to an end as they graduate from college.
The lessons learned from softball — a game one player described as full of failure — could hardly be counted. Many can be learned playing any team sport, but that doesn’t diminish their value.
I hope the idea of fastpitch softball catches on with players, parents and potential coaches. We could all benefit from another athletic option for young women in the community. They can learn some of the same lessons I did playing the sport for more nearly 20 years.
• Sometimes things get tough. Never give up. Just one swing can change an entire game.
• You can accomplish little without teamwork. The best projects, even today, that I’ve been a part of have required teamwork.
• Sometimes life throws you curves. Learn to adjust your bat speed and angle to knock it out of the park.
• Hard work pays off. Whether you end up playing in the Women’s College World Series or landing that important promotion, you can achieve with a little elbow grease. One of my favorite quotes I’ve seen recently says, “Let them sleep while you grind. Let them party while you work. The difference will show.”
• Failure is OK. You won’t hit a home run in every at bat. You’ll fumble a ground ball now and again. You might even make an errant throw. Learn from it. Get better.
As Cloud Peak Fastpitch heads to Gillette Friday for the first round of games this season, I hope the girls learn some of these valuable lessons.