Sisterhood of the Traveling Softballs Written By Shannon Murray
The other day I was reminded about a book that I read when I was a teenager. I’m sure many of you girls can relate when I mention the book is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. For those of you who may have not read the book, it’s about four best friends who are linked together by a traveling pair of pants while they are separated for a summer. In the end, this enchanting novel taught me a serious lesson about the importance of friendship and family. But something this book started and softball emphasized for me is that the family we are given isn’t always related by blood.
The girls that share the dirt, name on the uniforms, and memories from softball with you will surprise you how big of a part they will play in your lives. They are more than just your teammates; they are your friends, sisters and family. Softball is a gift and so are the people that you play with. When I got to college, I was fortunate to not only find the best teammates I could ask for, but also the best friends that I will have for the rest of my life. Those girls were there for me on and off the field. You can’t find the kind of relationships you have in softball anywhere else. Something about this sport brings us together for more than just another win in the column. My best friends and teammates in softball taught me life lessons that I always carry with me. Indirectly, they helped shape me into the person that I am today. My sisters gave me the confidence I needed to believe in myself in softball and other areas of my life. My teammates gave me the encouragement and guidance I needed to become a leader on my team as well. Though I am separated by states from these teammates I call my sisters, I know because of the bond we shared on and off the field I will never lose them. The picture accompanying this post is of me and my fellow classmates who I graduated and played with at Lawrence. However, these were not just my fellow teammates, captains and leaders, but also two of my very best friends.
So players my lesson to you is to think about how you treat your teammates. Not only do you share the ball field with them, but also memories that will never leave. Those sick double plays, final strikeouts to win the game, home runs, diving catches and so much more are the building blocks for lifetime friendships. With friendships on softball teams can also come times of tension. Think about how you will handle these situations before you act on them. If you are a leader on your team, this is especially important for you. Leadership is a privilege of power, not an entitlement of one. You will earn the respect of your teammates faster and more efficiently by seeing them as equals and not beneath you. A loss of control in leadership can affect the friendships you have on and off the field. Treat these special girls as you would want to be treated. More importantly take the time to learn the different personalities of each girl on your team to be sensitive to their encouragement needs. Some are more sensitive than others and it is your responsibility as their leader to be aware of them. The other girls on your team are looking to you for support, guidance, fire for the game, and inspiration they need to have the love of the game. Softball gives us more than a lifetime sport, but also lifetime friendships. Like the traveling pants, travel, high school and college softball will give us a sisterhood of forever.
Shannon Murray Originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia, Shannon graduated in June 2013 from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. She played four years as a starting Pitcher and Utility player for the Vikings. She is now an Assistant Coach at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL. Going on 9 years of coaching experience, this is her first position at the collegiate level. She plans on coaching for many years to come and give back to the sport that gave so much to her. Shannon’s ultimate goal is to teach her players that they are astounding young women with the potential to be great softball players through hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
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