Hey girl haayyyyy. You’re, like, really good at softball. I love watching you play. I love watching you stick your tongue out when you’re up to bat. I love the look on your face after making an awesome play. I love seeing your arms so tan and your freckles so freckly, and your messy hair and dirty clothes and the biggest smile plastered across your face hours after a game. I love the confidence that comes from hard work paying off.
I love it.
But know this: it’s not the only thing I love about you. And this? Softball? It’s not everything. You are so much more than an athlete. You are my daughter, my chocolate-chip-brown-eyed girl, a child of God, an encouraging friend, a promising student. I want you to enjoy these years. I want you to enjoy playing this game.
I want you to work your very hardest, and give your team your very best. Maximum effort–at practices, at games…I want you to have a good attitude, in the field or on the bench. I want you to push yourself. Go the extra mile, in life–which includes sports.
No, you will never be able to or allowed to play tournament/travel ball in addition to high school ball, even if it will improve your game. I love you, I love your passion for this sport, but you will not. Our family is not built for it. I want you to work hard, but I will not let you sacrifice the precious little time you have with God and family, and I am not sorry.
Some boyfriends will want to use you up for what you can do for them. Some coaches will want to use you up for what games you can help them win. Some bosses will use you up for their company’s profit. Set boundaries. Find purpose and self-worth in Christ, not in dusty trophies or pats on the back.
Remember always, someone who says they love you will not scream at you for a length of time or fly off in a fit of rage and shake it off like it’s nothing. That’s not love. It might be good coaching, but it’s not ever love.
Play with all your heart. Take your licks. Accept constructive criticism. Welcome instruction and advice from your coaches. Encourage your teammates. Go to the optional extra practices. Stay later and hit. Bust your butt out there. I expect nothing remotely less. Keep your head in the game and your eyes on the ball.
Run fast. I will always cheer for you.