How Do You See Them? Written By Dalton Ruer
When you look at all of the cute faces that make up the team in this picture how do you see them? Because when I first saw it my mind started racing with all kinds of thoughts and kept me thinking for hours. So I’m really interested in knowing what goes through others heads when they see photos like this.
I had just walked away from a 12U A tournament in which the girls I went to watch had done extremely well but overall I left pretty discouraged. Mainly because I had overheard so many horrible conversations amongst parents talking about the coaches and players on their own team. As I reflected on many of the comments regarding the coaches I had to admit to myself many of them were really accurate. Harsh and ugly but mostly true. In about 6 hours standing and watching games I had witnessed so many players verbally abused by the coaches of various teams that I almost charged the fields to protect them. I was shocked at the depths to which parents will subject their daughters for the sake of trying to be on a really competitive team. So honestly my first thoughts when I saw this picture was “I wonder how many of these sweet innocent young ladies will have their love for this game, respect for coaches and their acceptance of each other turned to animosity by their parents or their coaches?”
As I reflected on the comments that I had overheard about players that were lazy, players that “always” made mistakes, players that “didn’t even want to be playing” again I had to admit that many of the comments were also true. Many of the players clearly shouldn’t have been playing at the level that they were. They were way over matched athletically and their talent level just couldn’t compete. Many of their faces showed that they wanted to be anywhere but the ball fields they were on and had no real desire to compete. In all truth it appeared clear that they were there against their wills. So my mind then started wondering “how many of these players would simply quit the sport before long if their parents were pushing them to play over their heads or more than they really wanted to be playing.”
Once I got passed the thoughts brought on by my bad day at the field I started thinking much more positive things about them. Which ones would work harder than all of the others around her and become great one day? Which ones would begin developing leadership abilities? Which ones would be starting for their local High Schools in a few short years and have the entire community cheering for her? Which ones might even go onto greatness at the collegiate level or even pro softball or the Olympics? Which ones would overcome all of the negatives around them out of a shear love of the sport.
By the time I arrived home I realized that even those positive thoughts were rather unfair to these precious young ladies. They deserved to be appreciated for the moment they were in. They were surrounded by players that they clearly loved taking a photo for memories that will be cherished for years to come. Taking a photo that took me on a mental journey for hours and helped encourage me again. They didn’t deserve to have anything else positive or negative tarnish the image of that moment.
To you the reader I ask again … When you look at all of the cute faces that make up the team in this picture how do you see them? More importantly when you look at the smiling faces around you in your part of the country/world are you able to celebrate the “now” of the moment or are you handing your baggage, your focus on the future, your focus on success, your focus on “reality” over to others as I had started to do.
Perhaps what this sport needs more than ever is a little less focus on “reality” and the “future” and a little more hugging and smiling among teammates. So to their coach who shared this photo and gave me permission to use it and to the ball players on the Hemphill Diamond Elite, a team thousands of miles away from me, I say thank you. Thank you for helping me get passed the discouragement brought on by others and focus simply on the moment of your happiness. To their parents I pray that all of you are blessed in seeing those pure smiles and love between your daughters and their teammates in each and every team photo they ever take.
Dalton Ruer: Coach Ruer has been using softball to encourage and motivate athletes for 15 years. Throughout the year he is a private softball instructor to many college bound athletes in Georgia. He facilitates team based clinics and instructs at many elite and college recruiting softball camps. His specialties are helping players verbalize their dreams and establish a plan to achieve them and helping players overcome the fears that are holding them back from being exceptional athletes. He has produced 6 instructional DVD’s covering all aspects of how to win the short game and how to dive for the ball. Keep up with Coach Dalton by visiting his blog and resource site at CrossTrainingSoftball.com. Join Dalton On: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube
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