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A different journey. And it’s ok.

Feb 4, 2015
Sorry for the verrry long post. It took us all a long time to get to this point, so I thought it was worth sharing fwiw.

This is about my DD’s softball journey. Hopefully sharing what we’ve learned will help someone else, albeit sooner and with less stress on your relationships.

DD’s loved club softball from 10U-14U, doing all the fun things girls do in travel ball at that age. She also loved going to the camps where college coaches would instruct. When she moved up from 14U's, she said she wanted to play in college. After all, all her teammates were moving to the showcase teams so this was the logical next step. She says it’s what she wants to do.

Her first season in showcase two falls ago, she moved to an org that has all college coaches and gets the exposure with the colleges she’s most interested in. It's showcase level, so now there are letters to write, college research to do, showcase tourneys to play (which are very different), along with new teammates from all over the region. It’s no longer about playing on weekends with your close friends from 12U, but she gets that. She understands the goal of playing in college and what it takes. She says it’s what she wants to do.

Her first year of showcase, by all accounts is a success. She gets a lot of interest from the schools she likes and even gets emails and noticed by coaches who were not on her list. But, something is missing. The joy has been replaced by something else. She doesn’t know what or why, and can’t put into words. But we all feel the stress. I tell her this is her journey and she needs to take control of it. She says it’s what she wants to do.

I try to help her along because it’s new territory dealing with colleges and coaches. I send various articles for her to read, some new work out ideas, some coaches’ contact info, etc. Trying to encourage her so that she’ll start to get it and take more of the initiative. After nearly a year, she’s still not the one leading, always waiting to be asked. But she’s never been like that, with school or with softball. But still, she says it’s what she wants to do.

This fall will be better. Two of her best teammates from her original club join her team. The spark and fun will be back. They have a great fall. DD plays really well. She goes to a couple recruiting camps and does well there too. But once fall is over, the work-outs stop. Stops hitting. Nothing. I ask if she is done. She says no. I ask her if she still wants to play in college and she says yes, so we let things go a while longer.

It goes 8 weeks without picking up a bat, asking to go to the cages, or writing a letter. We say she needs to make a decision and she says she still wants to play. We begin to have some heart to heart discussions about it. She’s good at making pro/con lists and things really begin to become clearer. She’s studying healthcare in college which will be rigorous. When asked what she thinks about playing in college, she doesn’t think about the fun of playing at that level or of the friends she’ll make. She thinks of the stress and how hard it will be to juggle. No wonder she’s not enjoying the journey!

But to her, in her mind, no longer playing is quitting. Even though college softball no longer aligns with her personal feelings or goals, she didn’t want to be a quitter. If she doesn’t have softball, she said she wouldn’t know who she is. This broke my heart. And I’m sure she thought we’d somehow be disappointed as well.

We had to ensure her that we’re proud of her no matter what. That if something is no longer right for you, or no longer aligns with your goals, it’s ok to stop. Stopping allows you to try something new. But she had to make that decision. And continuing to do nothing wasn’t fair to her, her coaches, or her family.

So she made the decision to stop playing showcase and called her coach to tell him. He was surprised (because she really is a good little ball player), but supportive. I have no doubt this was the hardest decision she’s made in her life. But with the weight lifted off her shoulders, she’s happier and much less stressed.

I guess what I’ve learned from all this is listen to your kids. Not their words, but their actions. Even though she would insist she wanted to play in college, her actions never fully aligned with that goal. Admittedly, I love watching her play and was hoping it would somehow eventually click. But in the end, it was not who she truly is.

She’s now onto other things (and smiling a lot more). And that’s ok too!
Apr 26, 2015
Seeing them smile is what it's all about - whether that involves softball or not...

Thank you for sharing! Wishing your DD all the best in whatever she chooses to pursue!
Sep 28, 2015
Thanks for sharing. My DD is 14 and I see some of the same things you describe so I appreciate the story.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Jun 11, 2012
As long as she's happy is all that matters. Best of luck to her in whatever she decides to do.
Is she still planning on playing high school?


Ex "Expert"
Feb 25, 2009
... and you know what, I would bet that she got a lot out of the game and will look back on it with great pride. Hey, it isn't easy to do what our dds do. You have much to be proud of. Imagine making that kind of decision when you are that young and your heart is so torn between the present and the past. You have done well as parents.
Sep 29, 2010
Knoxville, TN
Your unconditional love and support is what she will remember twenty years from now. Great parenting! I bet she kills it in HS this year!


May 16, 2012
New England
Think your DDs journey is not that out of the ordinary, My eldest DDs 1st year 16s team, she really loved, it was a group that played together for 3 years and split due to different levels of interest in the sport, some just wanted to play in high school, others in college. We moved on to "showcase" teams, while she still loved the game it wasn't the same. She met her future college coach on that original 16's team and I believe if we kept the team together more of the players would still be playing today and she would have ended up going to the same school she is now attending. It ended ok for her as she really is enjoying the team she's now on.

Thank you for sharing your experience.
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