Child's Play By Floyd Lewis - Phased and Confused
By Softball West
I'm sitting in front of my computer in my San Jose State shirt, drinking coffee from my San Jose State mug, wearing my San Jose State Softball hat. Long time readers, who just finished reading this lead in sentence, are very aware that this is going to be one of my reflective columns. Just a couple of issues ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column about what you need to purchase or own at the various phases of youth softball. By the time you read this column, I will have completed the final phase, as my daughter graduates from college.
I can't remember how long I've been writing for Softball West exactly, mostly because prior to starting this regular column I wrote for two other publications, and they all seem to have melted together in my memory. However, I do know that my first column here was written long before my daughter started playing softball. But as she moved from one phase of the game to the next, I was able to utilize those experiences to develop topics to pen here, whether they were educational, opinionated, or my feeble efforts to be funny.
On at least two occasions, I seriously considered retiring from writing this column. Once when we all moved to Southern California, and again when my daughter started playing in college. While I have seldom mentioned my daughter, or her achievements, here, I certainly have drawn upon her participation in softball for much of what I have written. However, I am going to take this opportunity to recognize my daughter for a couple of reasons, first because I can (unless edited) and because I should, as all of you should do, any chance you get.
Due to involvement in youth softball long before my daughter ever started playing, and through her involvement in travel softball, I was able to see most of the great softball players in the country, and became friends with some as well. Having seen the best play, and realizing that most parents have rose colored glasses concerning their daughter's abilities, I felt I was very objective concerning my daughter's abilities. I realized she was a decent little player, but not a great player.
When her team won a 10 and under national, I saw her contributions to the team, and realized that she was not a great player. She pitched, and won, a 31-inning high school game, which was a great feat, but I realized that she was a decent player, but not a great one, because I was objective. She pitched her high school team to three straight league championships and into CIF competition, almost single handedly. They won some CIF games, but never a championship, because I realized my daughter was a good solid player, but not a great one.
In her four years of college, she played four different positions for a not so competitive division I softball program. While the season is not quite over as I write this, by the end of the year, she will hold several school records, both as a pitcher as well as a hitter. She has also continued to play during the summer, competing the past two summers on an ASA Women's Major team, earning second team All America honors in 2004 and first team honors in 2005.
With her graduation about two weeks away, I've spent a bit of time reflecting on her softball career, and her accomplishments. In doing so, I found out something about myself. In my efforts not to see her through those rose colored glasses, I've put blinders on myself. I wasn't being objective; I was being judgmental. What I now realize is that my daughter is a great player. Not the greatest, but a great player all the same.
And while she had some great success on the softball field, this greatness is not all about her athletic achievement. It includes the fact that she was able to be a part of the team that she obtained an excellent education and she became a productive and responsible adult. These are all things that make her great. So to all of you with daughters playing this great game, no matter what "phase" you currently find yourself in, take the time to let her know that she is great, no matter what type of success she may find on the field.
BACK TO THE KIDS
As this issue reaches you, qualifying for nationals is just beginning. I always love this time of year, with the high expectations of the teams, and the excitement of a "new" opportunity to gain a berth to nationals. Having a bit more free time this summer, I hope to get back into the practice of covering selected tournaments here in Softball West. In the past I was able to write stories for one or two events a year, and it is my desire to get back to doing more of this for the summer.
I've already taken the time to review the schedule of upcoming youth tournaments in preparation. From all the chatter going on at the various Internet sites, there does not appear to be a lot of clear-cut favorites in any of the age divisions. This makes for an even more exciting year, and I'm sure some upsets. I hope to bump into some of you out on the fields.
Larry Brushett, who many know as the Schutt guy in and around California, has left Schutt and is moving over to work for Mizuno. Larry is a huge youth softball supporter, and can usually be found at any major JO softball function. I wish Larry success in his new position* * * * Congratulations to the 12U Lakewood Ladies for winning the first "major" tournament of the year, the Fresno Force Classic, downing the Corona Angels 93, 2-0 in the Championship game. Same to the Sorcerers with their 8-1 win over CA Breeze in the 14U division of the same event * * * * As always, you can contact me at email@example.com_and so the ball rolls.