Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lessons in Softball...and Life

I need to bore you a moment and talk about my lessons.

Let me begin by telling you that whenever Scott and I face a tough life decision, we pray together and simply ask God to lead us and make His will obvious.  We believe that's all you can truly ask for, as His plan always turns out better than our wants. 

So I was just thinking today, as I taught a lesson in my backyard, how much He has lead me through my lessons.  I can count 17 years that I've been teaching and this makes the fifth state I've taught in.  And I can look back now and see how all of my needs in each phase of life were met by my lessons.

I can remember the original ones and I how I learned a craft through teaching it to others.  I didn't start pitching until late...14, which is totally ancient by today's softball standards.  But I worked hard and had a wonderful teacher and a dad that was willing to catch and push me.  And I had a few pitchers who wanted me to teach them.  Isn't that crazy?  But I see now how I needed to be able to verbalize what I was learning to others in order to better myself.  Thank you Michelle and Whitnie.  Well, and Andrea.

And then I worked at the NCAA for a year out of college as an intern and my fingers started to itch around 2:30 (practice time) and I started daydreaming about being outside and not in the office...and I found wonderful, wonderful lessons there.  I started in a facility and ended up teaching out of an old church, a horse barn, and any place that had a backstop.  I even gained a second family.  Thank you Kristin and many others.

And when I decided to try my hand at coaching and make no money as a Graduate Assistant, I had a note on my desk the first day I walked in the office of someone looking to hire part time...which was the only way I was able to give lessons because of NCAA regulations.  So I was able to work and put food on the table and make such lasting friendships that I am now able to bring my children to their houses and call on them for anything at a short moment's notice and know that they'll be there.  Thank you Chelsey and Holly, Lou and Brittany, Emily and Alyssa.

And then, as I pursued an assistant coaching career and began my journey into marriage and even motherhood, it was my pitching families who not only financially made our life possible, but emotionally for me as well.  Their moms were my friends.  Their dads called after games.  We became interlinked through connections and bartering lessons for things we needed and they were very much my life.  I still haven't quite gotten over having to leave some of them and they are impossible to list completely.  But you know who you are.

And don't even get me started on my college girls and the bonds I made with them.  I loved looking back through my wedding pictures at all the former players and pitchers that were there (Scott and I both). I still think about my Gardner-Webb pitchers whenever I go for long runs and the Furman pitchers whenever I hear Disney songs (because of them belting them out the one year at Spring break...and because of the look on Dana's face when I joined them.)  And poor Lana, who had to last a season with a very pregnant and hormonal coach...

And then...we moved to Tennessee and we knew no one.  I missed my lessons, but they weren't an option, mainly because I didn't have the childcare...or the home mound.  And I suffered.  I needed them from so many angles:  friendships, finances, basic human interaction outside of children under two... I think it's harder for an adult to make friends than teenagers...not that they would believe that...  But I missed my friends and I missed my pitchers.  I was very ready to get back into a stable routine with this move.

So I was thinking about all this as I watched Shelby pitch today.  She is 13 and is one of the most unique pitchers I've ever met...in that she does everything I ask.  If I ask for a change, she makes it.  She doesn't question, doesn't roll eyes, doesn't look at me like I'm speaking Spanish...she just does it.  And she is already getting so much better.

I love Shelby.  I can't even get my two year old to do things the first time I ask...

I spent two hours talking to new pitching moms and dads last week because I've truly missed them since the move and I haven't been able to see them since (summer is tough for lessons because the girls and families travel so much).  And I realized...God is providing for me even now.  This coaching and teaching need that is so fundamental in me, He has met through these wonderful girls and their families.  I'm not in the position anymore that I can pack my schedule full or throw them back to back because I have dinner to make and books and puzzles to pick up and a little two year old that wants to pitch every time a big girl gets done and a 1 year old that wants pushed in a swing.

But more than this, I see my daughters looking at these female athletes with such a look of wonderment and I love that God is providing these role models.

"Mama, you got lessons tonight?  Who's coming tonight, Mama?  Can I pitch too?"

So today, I am eternally thankful for Shelby...and Cheyanne, and Sophie, and Bri, and Caitlyn, and Hailey...and all my future pitchers and all in my past.  

Thanks for reading!

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