The Gift of Softball and School Sports
I’m a mom of two high school girls. My daughters are currently in their sophomore and freshman years, and both play varsity softball. My sophomore daughter also plays travel ball.
Right now we are halfway into the high school softball season, and it’s going just so-so. But that’s okay because the reasons our girls play school ball versus travel ball are different.
Once upon a time, they both played travel ball, giving up on rec ball for more practices, better coaching, and stronger competition. One daughter continued with travel ball, and one did not. But that’s a different post.
We play school ball because my kids are athletes and absolutely love the game! But also because it’s a different vibe – the experience level varies, a few softball players do play year-round, but the vast majority just play high school ball. While it is (and should be) taken seriously, it’s also a fun time. Friends, family, and classmates come to cheer you on and support the school. Family that can never make those away games for travel ball can be spotted in the bleachers at a high school game because it’s local and therefore much more accessible. We get to see many of our fellow travel ball team members on the opposite side of our dugout. A little friendly competition never hurt, right?! I find myself cheering on that home run even though it was scored against us because, well, I know and support that athlete!
On the other hand, travel ball is a very different beast. For travel softball, we travel all over and by the end of summer, we are absolutely road weary. But my daughter loves it, and the friendships and life lessons made are 100% worth it. It’s expensive, competitive, and a huge commitment, but it provides a gift that high school ball does not. Both are great; both offer different outlets.
So do we prefer one over the other? Yes and no. We love the competition that travel softball brings. ALLthe girls are working toward the same goal and are focused on that goal seriously and year-round. But we love school ball for all the things travel is not. Yes, the girls work hard and are committed, but the purpose of a school team is to represent their school with classmates, and the team bonds in a totally different way. It also is a time in their lives when belonging to something (in this case, sports) helps them work out the daily frustrations of teen life. School sports help develop my daughters into the adults they will be one day.
The work the student athletes put in is inspiring. Most of these girls are working jobs, handling chores or duties at home, keeping up with homework and studying, trying to maintain relationships / friendships, and – on top of all of that – attending practices every night. Somehow my daughters still find time to drive this mom crazy! JK. I wouldn’t change this time for anything in the world.
Sports are just one way for our kids to be involved. And like any true Saints fan, we know that the 13th man is important. So go support your high school student athlete programs either by playing or attending a game! The cheering pumps them up and gets them going!!!
I played travel ball from the age of 10 and even division 1 college softball. STILL, most of my fondest softball memories are from highschool ball. This article is so true!