For the love of the game

Champions play whiffle ball for fun during a stressful week

Ask any Bulldog softball player; it’s been a long season.

From infinite ground balls in the “rubber room” to nearly unbearable weather conditions to a series of disappointing losses that left the entire team questioning each other as well as themselves. At times, it seemed like this season would never end.

When I came to FSU last fall, I could hardly wait to hit the dirt and begin training. Ecstatic that my dreams of playing college softball were finally being realized, I was eager to see what my freshman season had in store for me.

But as the year wore on, things unfortunately began to change. Somewhere between the hours of practice, lengthy road trips, and recognizing my subdued role on the team, I lost the enthusiasm I had come to school with. More than likely, I sweated most of it out during our tri-weekly kettlebell sessions.
For the first time in my life, softball had become a job. Every day was the same: class, practice, sleep. The game I’d grown up playing no longer brought me the enjoyment it had as when I was a kid. Rather, it had become a monotonous chore which I had signed my life away to when I inked my letter of intent.

I was merely existing. I was counting down the days until the season would end, and I could finally go home. But then a bright, shining, beacon of hope appeared in the form of a whiffle ball.

It was a Thursday like any other. With a tough six games scheduled for that weekend, practice was sure to be as grueling as ever. Each win was crucial in order to put ourselves in a good position for the GLIAC tournament. However, when Coach Becker entered the gym, she announced that we’d be playing whiffle ball.

Surprised but excited nonetheless, seniors chose teams (freshmen were picked last, of course) and the game began. Before long, the simple game of whiffle ball turned into what one of my teammates described as the “time of our lives.”

Double plays were turned. Pitchers were behind the plate. Everyone was playing loose and carefree. We were refreshed. We were renewed. We were having fun again.

It happens to all of us. In the midst of frustration, we sometimes lose sight of our passion for the things we love most in life. It could be a sport, a career or a relationship. When heartache replaces joy, many people choose to give up. But champions don’t.

Champions don’t surrender in the face of adversity. Champions remind themselves of why they do what they do and why they love it. Champions play whiffle ball. n