Putting An End To Something You Love

For the people who have known me throughout my life, they would know that softball was a huge part of the person I am. My journey as a softball player has had its ups and downs. Every experience I went through has only made me a stronger person. Having softball in my life allowed me to dedicate myself towards something important to me. It also provided me with something I loved to do. Each and every time I stepped onto a field, I knew that’s where I belonged. Having that experience in my life is something I hope everyone gets to have.

One of the most difficult decisions I have ever made was recently when I decided to end my softball career. After the summer ended, I began playing softball for Penn State Altoona through my first semester of college in the fall season. Between the practices and the two games we got to play I truly succeeded and showed all my strengths as a player. But I knew something wasn’t right. Each time I had to go to practice or go to a game I didn’t have the motivation to do so. It was almost like I was “burnt out” from playing. All I could think about were my past softball experiences. It is hard to find the words to describe the feelings I was experiencing.

As some of you know, I ended my high school softball season the best we’ve ever done in all four years I had played. It was a season I will NEVER forget and I was so lucky to experience it my senior year. After the season ended, I continued to play throughout the summer with my travel team that I’ve been apart of for a couple years now. Both teams consisted of two amazing groups of girls and coaches that could never be replaced. The relationships I built with these teams turned into families. Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on the different memories I have with them. Softball was my life pretty much every day of the week. I cannot thank all the coaches I have had enough. Especially my coach Greg Heydet. Not only for being an inspiration in his fight against ALS, but also for helping me learn every single aspect of pitching I needed to learn to succeed. He is an amazing coach and a person in my life that I will always be thankful for. Not to mention, he was the greatest influence for my love of the game. I also want to thank my Coach Engelhardt. He was one of the many reasons my senior softball season was so great and he always had confidence in my abilities. No matter what the situation was in the game, I knew he was in the dugout believing in me.

For the people who don’t understand why I quit, it’s because I got everything I needed from softball. It was a huge part of my life and still is. Everyday I wish I could go back and play on the fields where I grew up pitching balls to my dad. But now that I am in college, I have decided I want to focus on my future now. It is now time for me to focus my time and effort on my school work and myself, rather than on the field. Playing softball has shaped me into a dedicated, hard working, intelligent, and strong woman which will help me through any obstacle I may face in my life.

To my dad, it was a difficult change for him too. He spent almost all his free time from work to help me work on my skills. He helped me each and everyday to develop into the athlete I had become. Without my dad, I don’t know what I would have done. Whether he was kicking the fence when I made a mistake, lecturing me in the car after the games, or cheering me on every move I made on the field, he was always my #1 fan. The long drives to tournaments, the money he put into my lessons, and the support he always provided, helped me realize I could not have asked for a better dad. He has taught me how I should support my kids when I grow up. Most importantly, no matter what decision I have made about softball, including deciding to end my career, he has always backed me up on my actions.

As my life goes on, I will continue checking in on my high school team after every game they play as if I was still on the team. When my travel team gets to go to nationals in places like Disney World, all the memories I had with them will rush back into my head. But, all those memories will make me realize I couldn’t be more happy with myself for the decisions I have made. So even though I put an end to something I love, softball will forever be one of the biggest parts of my life.

 

For the girls who want to change

If you ask me how my day is going right now I would most likely answer with stressful, tiresome, or uncomfortable. Around this time last year, I would’ve answered with motivated, joyful, proud, and beautiful. I’m starting this blog for all the girls like me that are going through the same difficulties I am. About a year ago, I had realized what I wanted to do with my life. I set my mind to make myself feel beautiful and I did it. I’ve played softball my whole life but that wasn’t enough for me. I completely changed my life around and started to work very hard to lost 60 lbs. I felt like the happiest girl in the world because I had everything I ever wished for. Walking around the hallways at school wasn’t so bad anymore. I would receive compliments like “wow you look so good, I’m jealous!” and “you’re so beautiful!”. Even though my family, friends, and boyfriend have given me those compliments all the time whether I want them or not, this time last year I believed them. I thought of myself as beautiful through the whole ending of my senior year and all summer. Whether it was going on senior trip, playing softball, going to prom, or graduating I was so comfortable and happy. It was the best summer I could have ever asked for.

Now that I’m away at college, it is hard to look back at pictures and memories of how happy I was. A lot of things have changed this year. I wasn’t expecting college to turn out like this. Being surrounded by a bunch of girls who barely wear any clothes when they go out, but still look beautiful in anything is very difficult for me. If it were a year ago, it wouldn’t bother me because I did feel beautiful like them. I spend every day wishing I looked like them and wishing I had the confidence they have. It’s hard to be away from home and feel like no one understands what you’re going through.

For all the girls like me, the hardest thing in this world is the idea of self-image. Society has built a self-image of what “beautiful” girls look like. My goal is to make a new self-image in my life and girls like myself that will make us feel beautiful no matter what we look like. Just like a lot of other students, throughout my experience at college I have experienced a lot of stress. If you know me, going to the gym is a very important part of my day. In the beginning of my first semester, I thought skipping days at the gym to study would be fine if it got me a good grade on my exam. It turns out those skipping of days’ lead to increasingly days of the week without me going to the gym. I have learned that working out makes you focus better, eat better, and feel 100X better. College consists mostly sitting by a desk doing work all day. Therefore, I have learned the hour or so that I spend at the gym a day will help me feel like the beautiful person I want to be.

The biggest change in college has been my diet. Being surrounded by people who can eat whatever they want, whenever they want is more difficult than I had imagined. I have gained weight back from summer that has really brought my confidence back down to the bottom. Most days I feel so uncomfortable in my body that it’s hard to even get dressed. It is also hard not having anyone close to me that feels like same way I do. It’s hard to motivate yourself to get back to your healthy ways when you’re doing it alone. At home, it was always good to have my Mom there are my partner. I have began to notice I am different from others and that is okay.

Since the weather has been so nice these past couple of days and have reminded me of this time last year it has been easier to motivate myself. I am on a good start back to my happiness! My advice to the girls like me reading this would be to find something that will remind you of times when you were happy. For example, I keep my graduation card that my parents had gotten me next to my bed here at college. If I ever feel unmotivated I open it up and read it because my parents had written how proud they were of me for accomplishing my wishes. The little things like that can really help you turn your life around. Now is the time change. Set a goal and follow in my footsteps because summer will be approaching soon. It’s time to get yourself happy, feeling confident and beautiful inside and out:)