No Place for Glory Days

Sometimes dreams change. They morph and evolve and there’s no shame in moving forward. And with them are old and dried up glory days, sitting in the dust. There’s no shame in the occasional over-the-shoulder glance back.

Since graduating high school several years ago (and staunchly changing my big-swinging dreams in the process), I have been asked a handful of times why I decided to hang up my cleats. Why didn’t I move onto college softball?

When I was younger, my ambitions were an open book. There were no secrets when it came to my dream, and the ultimate plan laid out for my future: I wanted to play college softball, and maybe someday have an opportunity to go further.

I was pretty vocal about wanting to play under Notre Dame lights, and my dad did everything in his power to get me ready for the next level.

Surprise, Surprise

When the time came to make a decision about my future, I surprised everyone, including myself, by enrolling in a college without an NCAA sports program. There wasn’t even a club softball option. Nothing; zip; nada. 

While I loved softball so incredibly much, I ultimately chose the path I needed. When I was busy pushing my body and re-focusing on fundamentals, I neglected another, just as important, part of my life. Academics slipped out of my vision, as I ran off to practices and games. More specifically, I ignored my passion for writing.

Here I am, many, many years later, still thankful that I took the plunge into a major personal risk. There was less financial security without an athletic scholarship. I faced some light disappointment from a few supporters (my biggest fan included). And, I had to follow through. I needed to dive into an English degree full-force, despite the many whispers and negativity surrounding the “useless” major I’d chosen.

Through it all, I gained a priceless education, amazing experience, and support during a new season of life. Totally worth it, though the game will always be a part of me as I continue to move on to different, and maybe even bigger things.

No Place for Glory Days

Originally posted in the September 2015 edition of the CU Denver Advocate.

The moments punctuated with grimy sweat, gritted teeth, and sky-rocketed nerves were possibly some of the most rewarding of my life. Now my days seem clean and calm and unmotivated and procrastination-filled, which reminds me of the void I miss most—my days as an athlete.

I picked up a baseball at the age of three. When my hands were big enough, I learned to throw a softball. By my freshman year of high school I landed a spot on the varsity squad, and before my graduation I ranked third in the state for my batting average.

My home was on the field, simple as that.

I paved my future as a softball player for years. By grand design, I arrived to practices early, and left hours after. I plead for my coach to give me critical feedback and hit me extra ground balls. Then my dad would offer to hit me some more, and I happily accepted.

I excelled, and it felt natural that the next steps would be to play for a college team. I had Olympic rings lining my eyes every night before bed, and I rubbed them out of my eyes each morning.

Hidden Love

Everything changed when I uncovered another captivation: writing. I always loved school, but when I enrolled in an AP Composition class, a new spark was ignited. Intensely. For the first time in my life, I imagined a scenario where I competed in a classroom rather than on a diamond, and where my achievements didn’t have to operate under a nine-inning time limit.

Many people were shocked when I called it quits on softball. Especially me. I even decided to enroll in a college without even an intramural team. It was difficult to deal with, but it was an opportunity to focus completely on academics and on my future as a writer. And I don’t regret it at all.

I no longer carry my glove with me at all times. I don’t have a handful of seeds in my pocket. The only eye-black on my face is the makeup lining my eyes. But I have this. I have the opportunity to write and to learn, and that feeling trumps anything else; even a walk-off grand slam on a blue-sky day.

My glory days are ahead of me, still to come. 

 

 



 

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21 thoughts on “No Place for Glory Days

  1. Great post. I love hearing about people who found a way to do what they love. Too many people end up working jobs solely for the pay.

    1. Thank you very much! While sometimes a difficult decision, I’m a much happier person since choosing a path I actually wanted. It helps, too, that my husband is more technically-minded and has a more “practical” career, even if it’s hard to admit.

  2. Such a gutsy and admirable choice. Hopefully you get as much or more fulfillment from writing as you did from softball. By the tone of the post, I believe you do!

    1. Thank you! Thankfully, I made that decision about 6 years ago, and after going to college, moving, finding a new career, getting married, etc, I wouldn’t change that decision for the world. Definitely the right one. Thank you for reading! 🙂

  3. Well done for following your heart and doing what you wanted to do, not what everyone expected you to do! I’m sure you get a lot of happiness and satisfaction from your decision ❤️

  4. I think it was a great decision because you made it, you decided to follow a different path which made you even happier and that’s what matters. Also you learned a lot from every experience you had ♡

  5. I felt a bit moved and touched by your softball story. It must’ve been bitter-sweet for your dad who worked his socks off as much as you to improve your softball game only for it to go in another direction, but at the same time happy that his daughter was making a bold, independent decision to give it up to pursue something else. What’s unusual is that you chose to give up the dream whilst with other aspiring athletes don’t often have the luxury of having a choice cos the dream’s ruined by injury etxc. I liked how you said you had olympic rings in your eyes when waking up in the morning: kind of like glimpses of what could’ve been?

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures
    https://johnnystraventures.com

    1. There was a lot of emotion tied up in my decision. Both of my parents were great supporters, but I think it really hit my dad, who was literally a personal coach and someone who saw the potential in me that I honestly couldn’t imagine sometimes. On the other hand, I had a serious boyfriend (now husband) and a different dream and I was feeling overwhelmed with practices and school choices and who I wanted to be. It was hard! I wouldn’t change anything about the path that I chose, but it’s always interesting to think about what could have been.

      Thank you so much for reading and leaving your thoughts!

  6. Great story! We often forget ourselves when we put all our energy into one thing. I can remember being a mom at 19 and the first time I went out with friends I had actually forgotten how I once liked to do my makeup. I was so engulfed in this one aspect of my life I forgot evwrything else. Its important to delve into all parts of ourselves to get the full experience of life!

    1. That is so true! I can only imagine what that was like; it’s so interesting how intensely our identities can change, and how easy it can be to nearly forget our old habits. Thank you for sharing your experience, and reading mine! 🙂

  7. I love this post!! That must have been such a hard decision but I’m glad you are happy and proud of yourself for taking it! Good luck with your writing in the future!!:)

  8. Sometimes it’s more important to follow your gut. Yeah you may have disappointed some, but they eventually come around. No matter what happens you made a decision to follow your heart, which also happens to bring you fulfillment. Key statement in your piece…”And I don’t regret it at all.” Thanks for sharing your passion for writing with us!

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