My 10 year old daughter is a part of an amazing story unfolding in tiny Claremont, CA, a foothill community about 50 miles east of LA. The old cliche about baseball - or softball in this case - being a metaphor for life is proved true every time this group of girls strap on the cleats and pick up the bats.
The Claremont Girls Fast-Pitch Softball League has about 150 girls in four age divisions; three of the divisions are headed to 2010 National Championship Tournaments the week of August 2-8.
The 10U, 12U, and 14U girls have overcome every obstacle thrown their way; moving up this year in class from "C" to "B", competing against leagues with 3 or 4 times as many girls, raising funds to get to Nationals. You name it, these girls have done it!
The 10's head to Tucson, AZ, the 12's to Las Cruces, NM, and the 14's to Roseville, CA. The temperatures are fore-casted to be around 100 degrees in all three locales, so the weather will match the competition - hot, hot, hot!
I will be writing about the 10U Gold All-Star team, playing in Tucson, AZ. I am the score-keeper. What an amazing story the stats tell. My daughter is Ambur, the youngest on the team. She is not a starter. She is a role-player. And she loves it.
What teaches you more: Playing every inning during a losing season or playing a role during a winning season and championship quest?
How about both. A losing season gives a player a sense of humility, and a winning season give a player a sense of swagger. Both are important.
During this season, Ambur has matured. She is always in the game mentally. She is always on the fence, cheering her team on. She is always locked and loaded when #14 is called.
The girls' intensity between the lines is matched only by their innocence between the games. Stealing 2nd with a hard slide, blocking home and getting bowled over to prevent a run scored, giving up no runs with bases-loaded and no outs.
Then, win or lose, you see them blowing soap bubbles, playing baby games with little sisters and brothers, running through the sprinklers. Talk about leaving it on the field!
The metaphor becomes real, it is a living, breathing force. These girls are true athletes, in every sense of the word. Give the game 100%. Focus on the next play, not the last. Have your teammates backs. Believe in yourself.
These epigrams are not hollow phrases in a motivational book or feel good words in a staff meeting. They are what these girls do, every inning, every game, every tournament. Their games are inspiring. They never quit.
Their record is 26-5, and win or lose, they have shown class and sportsmanship before, during, and after games. They don't talk trash, they tip the cap for an opponent's great play, they don't get intimidated - they just play. Kinda like how life should be lived.
Check back here for updates on the week, for games scores and stats, to track the progress of the girls. And to celebrate their success!