Thursday, July 14, 2011

Paying it Forward...

So it’s been a while since our season ended and I had the intentions of blogging much sooner than July 14th. However, a trip to Florida, taking the GRE, a class, an internship, a job, moving into a new house and a road trip to Okoboji later, I’ve finally gotten the chance to tell you a little story about the day our season ended.

After our season ending loss in the Regional Tournament, a couple of us and our parents decided to go out to eat at Red Robin. Even after crying our eyes out, hugging our teammates and taking 45 minutes to decide where we should eat, we were still feeling a little down. We managed to make it to Red Robin, and forced ourselves to dry our tears so we wouldn’t look like idiots in public. All 25 of us sat down at our tables, parents at one, kids at the other, and it wasn’t even 10 minutes into our conversation when a little girl walked up to our table. She was still wearing her softball uniform from her game earlier that day. She simply said, in a shy 10 year old voice, “do you have any advice for an upcoming softball player?” She was so precious and nervous to talk to us. The look on her face was that as if she were meeting the USA Olympic team. We gave her three tips: “Work Hard, always try your best and most importantly, have fun.” Her smile gleamed from ear to ear, she said thank you, and sat back down at her table.

From that point on, I don’t think we talked anymore about losing. That little girl put us at ease. We laughed, joked around, and joined in with the waitresses in the happy birthday song about 10 times (even the dads sang along!). We then decided to put our brains together and do something special for the little girl, whose name was Emily J We went and got a softball out of one of our cars and asked the waitress for a Sharpie. We all signed the ball and wrote a little message for her on it. When I went over and gave it to her, I swear she had tears in her eyes. Emily thanked us several times and so did her parents. Throughout the dinner we kept glancing over at her. She ate with her fork in one hand, the ball in the other, and refused to put it down. She even had her parents take her picture with it. It was adorable and it made our hearts melt.

Emily, a 10 year old girl, made us all think about what softball is really about that day. It’s not about winning or losing (although I will say winning is wayyyyy more fun!). It’s about taking your dedication to the game, your work ethic, your sweat, your scrapes, your bruises, your tears, your joys, your LOVE for the game, and paying it forward, and passing it on.

This story reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good.”

I see this quote every day at my internship and it always reminds me of the day at Red Robin. I’m blessed to have had that experience to help me put my frustration and sadness of ending my junior season, into a different and better perspective. Thank you, Emily.
I look forward to many more memories as we all will come together one last time for our end of the season banquet in August. This team was so special, and after not having seen several of my teammates since finals week, I’m ecstatic to relive some of our favorite memories from 2011! Thank you again to everyone who was involved in our 2011 season. It was certainly one to remember and one to celebrate.