Things You Realize Once You Can't Put on the Uniform Anymore
(A Retiree’s Perspective)
1. It's Just a GAME.
It doesn't go without saying that I LOVE this game. But at the end of the day it's just a game. It won't define the rest of your life. It can't take away your character. It's not meant to. Sometimes we get so caught up in it. How poorly we did, or how much we let our team down. Take a deep breathe. We are all human, we all make mistakes. As long as you gave it your all, that's all that matters.
2. Failures Make you STRONGER.
Believe me when I say NO ONE wants to fail. It doesn't feel good. But in our sport, more than not you are going to. You can fail 7 out of 10 times and you're a good hitter. You can fail 6 out of 10 times and you're an incredible hitter. You ARE GOING TO fail. It's the nature of the game. How you react to those failures is more important. How quickly can you shake off what just happened to get ready for what's about to happen?
3. Success Isn't Sweet if You Didn't Have to WORK FOR IT.
Nothing good comes free, right? Okay maybe when you win something cool like an ice cream sundae or free drink at the movies. BUT, success is so much sweeter when you earned it - when you put in the hours - when no one was looking. Success is the sweetest when you failed time after time and got back up again, when you had enough humility to ask for help when you needed it, and when you can say you didn't take shortcuts to get there.
4. You Really are Only as Good as your WEAKEST TEAMMATE.
You might be the best player on your team, you might not be, regardless, it doesn't matter how good you are. What matters is the other 8 or 9 girls on the field WITH you. You really are only as good as the "weakest girl" on the team. No one wants to be her. You know, that girl that everyone hopes isn't up with bases loaded or gets the ball hit to her with the winning run on second base. We all think it. Well, DON'T. Make her better. You were once where she was, even once upon a time. Ask her if she wants to hit with you after practice, or if she wants extra reps because you were going to take some. Make her better. It ultimately helps you in the end.
5. There's Something to be said about HUMILITY and HUMBLENESS.
My dad once told me, "Nobody cares how good you were when you were 10." It's true. You could have gone to the Little League World Series or offered a spot on the best travel team in the area, and the truth is nobody cares. Being good at something only gets you so far in life; you'll get farther with your character. Be humble. Have humility. Keep your head down and work hard towards your goals. Ask about others before you speak about yourself. AND never ever forget to be thankful for where you have been and where you are going.
6. Don't Forget You Wouldn't be Where You are WITHOUT YOUR PARENTS.
For every teenager, pre-teen, or rebellious girl out there, I know what it's like to not get along with your parents. I fought with my mom, got grounded by my dad, and had the "I'm disappointed" talk one too many times. It's warranted: you're their daughter... and they LOVE YOU. They just want the best for you, even when you can't see it yourself. Every fight is out of love, every grounding is meant to make you grounded, and every "disappointment" talk is to show you, you are SO MUCH better than who you are being. THANK THEM: for the countless hours they take off work to drive you to practice, for the dues or fees it costs to allow you to play, for the snack shop waters they buy because you forgot your own. You wouldn't be where you are without them. Don't forget that.
Erin Ashby, Stanford '15