My true first love left me long ago.
Or I left it. I cannot be sure.
But I ran into it recently. Upon our encounter, I find that I haven’t missed it one bit.
In a sports-centric family, our world revolved around sports. Playing, watching, we were into sports. At least, that’s how “I” remember it. My siblings may say otherwise, but as the youngest, my world seemed to revolve around theirs. Volleyball, softball, baseball. They became ingrained in me. Softball, for me, was my first sports-love.
Each sibling played a sport. Recreationally and competitively, as competitive as you could be in the 70′s. One of my sisters was pretty good at softball. Volleyball too, but I saw her best in softball. State champion in both sports mind you. But there was something about the group of players she played with on that softball team that just made it seem so fun.
They had the fun/funny types, the characters (if you will), the serious and the all-around kind ones. A few of them really made me feel like I mattered….little tag-a-long that I was. It was only natural that I gravitated toward softball. I was halfway decent, not like my all-state sister but decent enough.
As I grew up, I was privileged to play on great teams with great players. I made friends with virtually everyone. Of course, there was the requisite teenage drama. Hard not to have that when you’re on a team full of teenage girls. But there was just something special to each one.
Being connected. Friends. Teammates.
And then it was gone. Life circumstances brought an end to my career. It was a choice I made and I never looked back. When I moved from Arizona to Washington, I did try to play again. But it just wasn’t the same. The bonds formed long ago with a sport I loved had long since broken. There was no longer a joy to it for me. It was just a sport.
And I was okay with that. Still am.
And then I found myself around it again.
The joy, the tears, the angst, the anger, and the heartbreak. All wrapped up in a weekend. In a sport I loved. Maybe part of me still does love it if I’m writing about it. Maybe.
For those players I saw this weekend, congratulations and good luck to all of them. I hope they will always miss it. Always cherish it. And always, always, love it.