I started playing softball in the 8th grade. I grew up playing Little League Baseball, so when we were finally able to play sports for our school starting in the 7th grade, I naturally wanted to continue playing baseball. They wouldn't let me, because baseball was for boys and softball was for girls. So...I went out for track instead. It was fun, but it just wasn't the same. When I was in the 8th grade, I decided to get over myself and joined the softball team. I've never looked back.
I played 4 years of Varsity softball in high school, and then played one year of college ball. I started coaching the following year as the assistant coach at the local high school in town. I eventually got a Head Coaching job at another school, but I still continued to coach the local summer team I was involved with, so I never really left working to build our local softball program. A few years later and I got the Head Coaching job at the local high school. I was the Head Coach there for 8 seasons. I've coached in this community for the past 20 years. 20 years!
During my time as the Head Varsity Coach here, we made it to the State playoffs each of those years. We won 6 Conference Championships, made it to the State Semi-Finals twice, and won a State Championship.
I've coached a summer team pretty much since the beginning of my coaching career, but it was mostly on the local level, just giving the kids a chance to continue learning the game in order to be ready for high school ball. However, 3 years ago my husband and I started a new team, with the intention of being more competitive and giving the girls an opportunity to take their game to the next level. Each of the 3 years we coached this team, we made it the the ASA/USA National Championships, achieving a spot in the top 50 in the Nation our second season. We've had 3 players sign to play Division I softball, one girl has verballed to play Division II ball, and several others are playing NAIA.
Softball has been our life. Tony and I have been married for 16 years, and almost every one of those years has been spent on the ball field together. Most of the girls we have coached, we started working with them when they were just 11 and 12 years old and continued through their high school careers. We would coach one group, and then get their siblings. Our best friends became the parents of these girls. These girls and their parents became our FAMILY. We started out coaching because we enjoyed the game. We continued coaching because we fell in love with the girls. They became our outlet for not having children of our own. The girls we coached, were like our own. They were our girls. It truly has been the most special thing, to be a part of these girls' lives and watch them grow up.
|At our softball baby shower, with many of the girls we have coached over the years.|
In September, I put in my resignation. I had reached the second trimester with the twins. It was a little scary to walk away from what had been such a major part of my life. If something happened and we lost our babies, I would NEED to coach. But if we did end up with our babies, there was no way I could coach this year because they were due right before the season started. I couldn't wait any longer to put in my resignation, because they needed to have time to hire my replacement.
It has now been one full week since the new season has begun. I miss it, but not as much as you might think I would. I had the opportunity to be on the hiring committee and sit in on the interviews for the coaching job. I am SO happy with the person that was hired as the new coach. It has been such an awesome transition. She is a young coach, fresh out of college, but she is also a new teacher at the high school. This has been a best case scenario for me. (I will call her New Coach)
New Coach and I have met several times and I have had the opportunity to directly hand over supplies, school records, and stats. I have been able to tell her about the girls and she has asked for my advice on things. I want her to be able to take over the program and feel that it is hers without me stepping on her toes, but I also want to continue being involved. I wasn't sure I would be able to get that connection with a new coach, but with this gal, I have. I have complete faith in New Coach taking over the program and it is such a huge sigh of relief that we can work together, with me taking a very back seat position.
I can't wait to take the babies to watch the team play. I plan to attend all the home games that I possible can. As long as the weather allows, I will load the babies in the stroller and we will walk to the games.
For the first time in 26 years, I am not on the field as a player or coach, but it is for the best reason in the world. I now have two little ones of my own. I figure that in about 6 or 7 years or so, Tony and I will probably venture into the coaching scene again. We've never coached t-ball, but I have a feeling we will love it!