Today, I am thankful for the game of softball.
That might seem trivial to most, but to me...it saved my life.
When I was 5, the city donated the old dump and Bristow joined the Green Country Girls Softball Association. I don't have many memories of how the transaction happened... I just remember my friends and their parents were excited. Then the work began... I remember Clyde (Jennifer Williams), Amy, Emily, Brandi, and I would be put behind a truck and told, "pick up the rocks and throw them in the bed. all of them!" Man, what a job.
When I go out to the complex now, it looks so different. I still get a swell of pride and am SO THANKFUL for the adults who spent time building something for the girls of Bristow. It started out just as softball fields, then later baseball was added.
Softball was my thing. My dad coached from my second year until I was a freshman in high school. He was passionate to say the least. He studied the game. He watched other coaches, he watched games, talked to umpires. He took us to clinics, games, and tournaments. We didn't just play for a few weeks in the summer, we played ALL summer. We were bribed with Nintendo game systems, bicycles, etc.
We played in tournaments LOTS of weekends. We won. We didn't know how to do anything else... that is what we were taught to do. We had fun. We would ride in the back of dad's truck (the camper shell was our only safety net) to tournaments singing the entire way. I still sing, "Oh fill me up and let it over flow..." Keisha Massey had such a voice :)
When I moved from Bristow, it was scary. Softball was how I made friends. Softball was my comfort. I knew how to play, I was okay... and I was confident when I played. It allowed me to find girls that I had something in common with. Without softball, I would have been miserable. Changing schools 5 times is HARD ya'll.
When I was a freshman, I moved to Roosevelt, Utah. I started school on the first day of Softball tryouts. Yes, you read that right... in Utah, you don't get a uniform just for signing up. You TRY OUT. Talk about scary! My family and I was living in a hotel room, my glove (they called it a mitt... I tried really hard to correct them every chance I had) was in a box, somewhere. My uncle mike gave me an old glove that I kept with me close, I knew where it was but it was a baseball glove, much smaller than a softball glove. I had to do.
Walking on that field changed my life. My coach, Loa Kay Bowthorpe "Bink", changed my life. She taught me how to play with pride, how to respect the field and my opponents. We traveled a lot in Utah to play softball and we had a few weekend tournaments that we stayed overnight. Those times are some of my greatest memories. Riding in the back of buses talking to the girls, learning about their lives.
We won state that year. State Champion. I am a STATE CHAMPION. Although I graduated from Bristow, that piece of me is and will always be a Union Cougar.
When I moved from Roosevelt, it was harder than when I moved from Bristow. Those girls were (and some still are) my family. I missed them more than I could express.
When I moved to Purcell, softball was again what allowed me to get into the right crowd... but my heart wasn't in it. I moved from my sisters.
Softball wasn't a game to me. It was a family. The memories aren't the wins and losses. They aren't the plays or even the uniforms. I treasure the friendships, the silly chants, the tears, and the joys.
Most of my closest friends today were started on a softball field. I love you all.
Today, I am thankful for Softball.
6 hours ago