Why Play Softball?

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Feb 3, 2010
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Pac NW
Originally posted by Cory McLaughlin at the WA State Fastpitch Page:

These thoughts popped into my head today so I jotted this down. Hope it helps bring perspective.

There is no future in softball. The game does not carry any hopes for a multi million dollar contract or even a living wage for that matter. For the time being, softball is a game for young women with the best wish of not much more than a scholarship to a school you may or may not want to attend.

So why play? Why pay? Why invest time into something that is finite and will, for the majority of players, cost more than it will ever pay out monetarily?

I’ve seen lists on here before in one form or another. While I’m sure what I’m about to say is similar I write this to explain what it is to me.

I have coached my daughter since she was 7 years old only just stepping away recently. She is now a freshman in high school. We have done rec, travel, and high school ball. She has been on several teams and had tons of teammates. It has been a ride for sure and it’s not over yet.

The Bad:
We have had some tough times. We have had awful coaches, mean teammates, injury and financial strain. We have cried and we have dealt with anger and rage. We have lived and suffered through the bad. We have lost. So why do it?

Because losing is part of life. It is an essential life skill to learn to deal with loss, anger, disappointment, hurt feelings, and all the other bad things that life can throw at you. You can try and hide from the bad in the world but it’s always there waiting to jump up and slap you in the face.

Oddly, the bad is as essential as the good. The bad brings balance, which is what the REAL world looks like. It’s just a push and pull of good and bad. Understanding how to appropriately deal with the bad only helps to bring about more good.

The Good:
I look at my 14 year old daughter as she sleeps in the passenger seat on our hour drive to another early morning practice. I admire her commitment though I’m sure she would rather be in bed. I rejoice in the fact that she is learning one of the most important lessons in life which is simply to get up and go when everything in you wants to stay in bed. This is how it feels for most of us everyday we go to work.

I see her on the field working hard for herself and for her teammates. Laughing and sometimes crying together depending on how the games went. I see her learning to form bonds with a diverse group of people and I applaud those moments as this is also an essential life skill.

I see her injured, hurt, tired, and mentally beat down. I see her find away to work through these issues and remain positive. I see her find a way to be helpful even when she is not 100%. I see her putting team in front of “Me” and that is also essential in the real world.

I see her endure horrible coaches that treat her poorly or just don’t believe in her. I see her have conversations with them and I see her advocate for herself. I see a young woman not afraid to know her worth and not afraid to leave a toxic relationship. I see her work to find what she deserves.

I see work ethic and determination to be as good as she can be. I see accountability in its truest form knowing that her failures are her own as are her successes, and that either way those may have helped or hurt her team. I see her understand that excuses and blame don’t get you anywhere in this life and ownership and accountability are what is necessary for positive growth. This is a big one, and something that I always tried to coach.

I see my money go to so much more than a game. I’m paying for life and it’s lessons. I’m paying for my daughter to learn to be a good hardworking and responsible human. I see return on my investment every time she steps on that field and when she is off of it.

I see time. I see myself in a car with a 14 year old girl day in and day out talking about life, boys, friends, softball, music. I see bonding with my daughter while so many others I know struggle to find common ground with their children. I see trust because my daughter knows I will listen, love, coach, guide, and work to understand her no matter the topic. I see memories that will never fade.

Lastly I see family. I see a sister showing up to a game she is not interested in. A mom freezing in the chill of spring to cheer on her baby. I see road trips and more hotel stays than I can count. I see plane rides that we never expected to take. I see making the most out of every trip no matter the outcome of the tournament. I see a family turning sport into an adventure and growing together as it unfolds. I see life, and life is for living.

No, there is not a future in softball. There will most certainly not be a big payout in the end as measured by dollar signs. But, I will have a relationship, memories, life lessons and quality time with a girl that means the world to me. So, it IS worth it! 10 years from now my only regret will be that it is over and that I miss it in all its beauty. The good and the bad.

So there it is. There may not be a future in softball in the way some people think, but it certainly is not without purpose. Softball teaches lessons about life. So for those of us that love it and understand it, softball is life, and it’s a beautiful life indeed.

~Cory McLaughlin
Softball Dad and Coach
 
Jan 25, 2022
850
93
My 14 year old and I have bonded more over sports. It started with archery, which is mostly travel. Moved to softball with her sister a couple years ago. Became a pitcher (more car rides). I've coached all of them, and most of it we learned together. For some stupid reason she trusts my instruction. She also knows I'm not always right, but sees that I'm willing to ask and be corrected by someone more knowledgeable. I will literally ask the HC questions about a drill or strategy right in front of the team.

She's learning all the lessons you mentioned, and we're spending precious time together. Music has been a big source of it. She loves that I like a lot of her songs. I thought it was so cool when my dad would figure out a Metallica song (that I knew he found revolting) on guitar and show me how to play it. We still play together after sharing 43 years together so far.

I try to find ways to do these things with her sister when I can, but she's dropping softball to chase other pursuits and doing an amazing job of it. I teach her different lessons, like how to be a good employee at her restaurant, how to drive and financial responsibility.

This time together is SHORT and PRECIOUS. I tell them a parent's goal is to leave the next generation a better version of themselves.

Plus, I want them to be successful so they can afford to bump me up to a nicer assisted living facility someday. Priorities.
 
Oct 4, 2018
4,556
113
It's just parenting. Replace "softball" with just about anything and it's the same story, year after year. We parents make sacrifices, watch our kids grow, are proud of their accomplishments and mindful of their struggles. Life.
 
Apr 21, 2022
7
1
Originally posted by Cory McLaughlin at the WA State Fastpitch Page:

These thoughts popped into my head today so I jotted this down. Hope it helps bring perspective.

There is no future in softball. The game does not carry any hopes for a multi million dollar contract or even a living wage for that matter. For the time being, softball is a game for young women with the best wish of not much more than a scholarship to a school you may or may not want to attend.

So why play? Why pay? Why invest time into something that is finite and will, for the majority of players, cost more than it will ever pay out monetarily?

I’ve seen lists on here before in one form or another. While I’m sure what I’m about to say is similar I write this to explain what it is to me.

I have coached my daughter since she was 7 years old only just stepping away recently. She is now a freshman in high school. We have done rec, travel, and high school ball. She has been on several teams and had tons of teammates. It has been a ride for sure and it’s not over yet.

The Bad:
We have had some tough times. We have had awful coaches, mean teammates, injury and financial strain. We have cried and we have dealt with anger and rage. We have lived and suffered through the bad. We have lost. So why do it?

Because losing is part of life. It is an essential life skill to learn to deal with loss, anger, disappointment, hurt feelings, and all the other bad things that life can throw at you. You can try and hide from the bad in the world but it’s always there waiting to jump up and slap you in the face.

Oddly, the bad is as essential as the good. The bad brings balance, which is what the REAL world looks like. It’s just a push and pull of good and bad. Understanding how to appropriately deal with the bad only helps to bring about more good.

The Good:
I look at my 14 year old daughter as she sleeps in the passenger seat on our hour drive to another early morning practice. I admire her commitment though I’m sure she would rather be in bed. I rejoice in the fact that she is learning one of the most important lessons in life which is simply to get up and go when everything in you wants to stay in bed. This is how it feels for most of us everyday we go to work.

I see her on the field working hard for herself and for her teammates. Laughing and sometimes crying together depending on how the games went. I see her learning to form bonds with a diverse group of people and I applaud those moments as this is also an essential life skill.

I see her injured, hurt, tired, and mentally beat down. I see her find away to work through these issues and remain positive. I see her find a way to be helpful even when she is not 100%. I see her putting team in front of “Me” and that is also essential in the real world.

I see her endure horrible coaches that treat her poorly or just don’t believe in her. I see her have conversations with them and I see her advocate for herself. I see a young woman not afraid to know her worth and not afraid to leave a toxic relationship. I see her work to find what she deserves.

I see work ethic and determination to be as good as she can be. I see accountability in its truest form knowing that her failures are her own as are her successes, and that either way those may have helped or hurt her team. I see her understand that excuses and blame don’t get you anywhere in this life and ownership and accountability are what is necessary for positive growth. This is a big one, and something that I always tried to coach.

I see my money go to so much more than a game. I’m paying for life and it’s lessons. I’m paying for my daughter to learn to be a good hardworking and responsible human. I see return on my investment every time she steps on that field and when she is off of it.

I see time. I see myself in a car with a 14 year old girl day in and day out talking about life, boys, friends, softball, music. I see bonding with my daughter while so many others I know struggle to find common ground with their children. I see trust because my daughter knows I will listen, love, coach, guide, and work to understand her no matter the topic. I see memories that will never fade.

Lastly I see family. I see a sister showing up to a game she is not interested in. A mom freezing in the chill of spring to cheer on her baby. I see road trips and more hotel stays than I can count. I see plane rides that we never expected to take. I see making the most out of every trip no matter the outcome of the tournament. I see a family turning sport into an adventure and growing together as it unfolds. I see life, and life is for living.

No, there is not a future in softball. There will most certainly not be a big payout in the end as measured by dollar signs. But, I will have a relationship, memories, life lessons and quality time with a girl that means the world to me. So, it IS worth it! 10 years from now my only regret will be that it is over and that I miss it in all its beauty. The good and the bad.

So there it is. There may not be a future in softball in the way some people think, but it certainly is not without purpose. Softball teaches lessons about life. So for those of us that love it and understand it, softball is life, and it’s a beautiful life indeed.

~Cory McLaughlin
Softball Dad and Coach


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
May 27, 2013
2,302
113
As a former HS player, I did it because I truly loved the game. There was just something about it that was fun and exciting, and honestly - probably kept me out of trouble for the most part. It fueled my competitive nature. It helped me develop friendships in HS with girls I otherwise never would have hung out with.

I was also the kid you could give a mitt and a ball to and I would throw it against the wall for hours. I’d always be begging to have someone throw with me, even long after my playing days were over. It helped me to bond with my dad.

For dd, it was something she and I had in common. It was something she enjoyed that I could relate to and I could do with her. Initially competitive dance was her passion and I let her ultimately decide which to choose when doing both dance and softball became too much. Thankfully, she chose SB!

Like previous posts, it has taught her time management, team work, mental toughness, and the idea that hard work pays off. It taught her how to make smart choices, resiliency, and it taught her sacrifice. It also taught her that not everyone gets a trophy. There will be ups and downs to the sport and in life. It created a bond between us for which I am forever grateful.

Ultimately, SB paved the way for her to get into a very good college. That was always the ultimate goal once she got to HS. Softball also provides some income for her as she works at a SB facility during the summer giving pitching and hitting lessons. I can’t deny that SB has paid off for her in the end. If she quit before HS, her life would be on an entirely different trajectory and can’t say if that would be good or bad.
 
Sep 3, 2015
372
63
Why play softball?
The sport is FUN! There are other sports but this one is my favorite!

My DD has never told me that softball was fun. A few different times I have questioned her love for the sport. We started at 8u and she is now pitching in college as a freshman (Big10).

What I can tell you is that she is committed to the sport, I’m not sure that love is the right word, but part of her for sure. It’s the competition, it’s me vs you and I am here to win (she’s a pitcher). The first time she pitched against CA MT, she was not 100% after all of the innings before and she told me in the car on the way home, “If I was 100% I can get them”. That’s when I knew.

It’s not just fun or the love for the game, it’s more than that. It’s the competition, the comraderie, the sense of belonging, the feeling and confidence of being great at something, the feel of being part of something greater. The feeling of accomplishment. The chase, the unknown, the internal challenge, the mental fortitude.

The lesson of working hard to fulfill your goals is possibly the greatest thing that could happen to a kid growing up.

Long live team sports, long live softball.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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