|Teen Voice: The ones who made history|
|October 20, 2011 Teen columnist, Zoey Rada|
It is six to nothing with two outs in the last inning of our district game in Lexington. I stand on first base expecting that the ball is going to come to me. Instead, the batter hits it to shortstop and my stomach is now in my throat as the shortstop fires to my glove. The ball sticks to my glove like glue as if I couldn’t believe I actually caught it. That was it, the last out, we had won the battle.
I looked down at my glove with the ball in it and back up at my team as they scream and launch themselves at one another because we did it. Those tight grips of the team hand in hand in the dugout, our racing hearts, our blood and sweat; we had just won districts and we were going to state for the first time in school history.
State softball is a memorable experience and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s how ever struggle contains a sense of success. Last August, softball conditioning was nothing but hard training to make ourselves better because the talk around town was that because we lost all nine of our seniors from last year, we weren’t going to be very successful.
We were nervous to take our first step of the season because the talk, but we also had previously faced a huge dilemma. In the past year, NSAA punished the golf and softball teams due to paying for the use of a training facility in the off season. They were going to take away the golf state trophies, but instead they punished our head coaches by not letting them coach the first two games, districts or state.
Our head coach Kendall Vogel explained the punishment he received to the whole team, and we gave him the deer in the headlights look because we were scared. We were scared that the people of our community and even around our area were going to be right about the lack of success for the Bearcat softball team.
Halfway through the season we had more wins than losses. We knew we needed to take it to the next level, and we had girls step up to play each game because our coaches gave us speeches before each game to raise our motivation. We had only had one goal: to be the first team to make it to state. The softball team fought and fought through each game one at a time, winning each battle slowly, and pouring our hearts and souls out because we needed to reach our goal. We wanted it.
A few weeks later, we were headed east toward Lexington to take on our district teams. We played a total of three games in a row, winning all three with a rough start, but we dug so deep within ourselves that we knew we couldn’t be defeated. Each of us were speechless as we were holding the plaque on home plate that said in bold DISTRICT CHAMPS, letting the tears that ran down our faces speak loud for our emotions.
Our head coach couldn’t be there with us, but before we left we knew we wanted this for him. He had spoken to us through a speaker phone on a cell phone right after we won and all he could say was “good job girls,” because tears had taken over him as well.
About halfway home on the bus, it finally hit me. I heard people say that we were going to state, but we were really going to state. We had done it. The goal was now in the palm of our heads.
Softball isn’t just about keeping your glove down and charging the ball or turning your back hip toward the pitcher to make all the force of your body push the ball off the bat as hard as you possibly can. It’s about the memories you make and the people who had a huge impact on your experience.
To be at state softball surrounded by hundreds of people and other teams who have fought to reach the same goal was a huge blessing. There are so many teams and athletes that don’t get to partake in events like these, so walking up toward these challenges was a big honor.
Making new memories on the same dirt as my other teammates was something I will never forget. It is a moment that I will cherish because we always played every game like it was our last, and the struggles we had faced, well all of those were forgotten, left behind, taken over by a moment so huge that none of that will ever matter.
What really mattered was the people who shared this with us and encouraged us to become better athletes and better people. “With every struggle comes success,” are the words of a bright human being. They are the words of the human being that never gave up, even when times became rough. That was the Bearcats, the softball players who never gave up because we made history. Who are we? We are Champions. What do we do? Win.
Read more by Teen columnist, Zoey Rada