Arriving at dawn,
The smell of fresh cut grass and wet dirt,
Chalk lines vibrant and unswerving.
Hoping to find a rhythm.
Finding the right release point,
Tight snap and proper rotation,
Spinning topside, powerfully,
Like a whirlwind.
The taste of sweat and dust on your face,
Cool mornings, hot afternoons,
Rain and wind.
Running into fences,
Diving onto clay,
Giving it your best, but still coming up short.
The anguish you felt when your best wasn’t good enough.
Hurt, you pulled yourself together for the next opportunity.
Hoping to find a rhythm.
Time turned like a river snaking through a canyon.
The approach appeared dissimilar,
Competition became fierce.
You and your team rose to the occasion,
Wearing determination like a comfy pair of sweats.
Converting to conquerors, you dominated in union.
This is where you lived.
The heaven of ice water,
Hot, cheesy nachos,
A roaring crowd.
You loved this,
It was your drive and purpose,
For then – – and there was nothing you would have rather been doing.
Written in 2009, this was dedicated to my youngest daughter who loved playing softball. Softball opened doors of opportunity for her. Opportunity that we didn’t realize was within grasp. Recruited by some of the most elite universities, she had options for her post-secondary education. Amongst the prestige of the Ivies and Ivy-like, she decided upon a private Jesuit school in Northern California. Santa Clara University is where she obtained a degree in bio-engineering while fulfilling her dream of playing Division I softball.
She learned a lot about life during her time there. She had been used to playing on winning teams, and this team struggled to pull off victories. The drive and commitment to play at that level coupled with the time and energy she needed to put into her studies was often difficult to juggle. Injured during her junior year, she completed what was her strongest season, battered and broken. After surgery, she had to red-shirt her senior year, and her body was never the same. Nonetheless, she was a leader on her team, starting as as captain her sophomore year and serving in that role until she completed her 4th year of eligibility as a graduate student. She was selected to the WCC All-Conference team twice, and set a few school records during her time there.
She made life-long friends throughout her journey, and so did I. The seasons still come and go, and as they do, we remember them fondly. She has the battle scars, the degree, and the memories of a lifetime. I have the satisfaction of knowing our sacrifices of time and money paid off big for her.