Oh Lord how you scared me! I gave you my most precious gift so that you could show her what you had to offer. I was worried she would get hurt under your watch, so you let me hold her hand and guide her while she got to know you, but as suspected she took to you like a duck to water. It wasn't long until you pried her from my grip and she ran to you without a single glance back. Which, was brilliant on your part to make sure she looked at you so she wouldn't see the fear written all over my face.
You encouraged her and you kept her humble while at the same time teaching her that a unit of measurement is a team and not a batting average. You surrounded her with likeminded individuals and you forced them to work hard or suffer the consequences of mediocracy. All the while I worried that you were just too tough on my baby girl, but you knew all along she would be tougher than me and just to prove it you said, "Hey Jenn, how about hanging with me behind the plate?"
Oh how my worries doubled as I watched her dance with batters swinging aluminum bats in her direction all the while trying to handle balls curving, rising and dropping in the strike zone. Once again, you were spot on with your assessment. She fearlessly owned home plate, carved her initials there and made sure that opponents knew that to cross home plate would require a heavy toll.
You didn't stop there, the lessons continued. You made her a leader, a cheerleader, a therapist, a teammate, a friend, a competitor and those are only the changes on the surface. You etched deep into her soul the will to achieve, the desire to continue to learn not only about the game, but about the core of the athlete and what propels them to continue their drive towards perfection. You honed her mind to see beyond the pain and fear and to focus only on the desired outcome.
Softball, I gave you a small, fragile, wisp of a girl and you returned to me a complete person. One that understands unity, strength from hard work, and self-discipline.
Softball, I must confess, while you suffered my fears, deep down I knew you would look after the girl and return to me an amazingly strong woman and I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. I owe you.