Saturday, September 26, 2009
This is Shannon, playing for her high school team. This is not yesterday's game. But what happened at yesterday's game made me so mad that I have to get it out, so you guys are the lucky recipients. Don't you feel lucky?
Back in junior high, and even before that, probably starting when she was 8 or so, Shannon used to pitch. She used to like to pitch, and she was pretty good at it. However, when she was in junior high, she developed a dislike for pitching (probably because it's a lot of pressure), decided she didn't want to pitch anymore, and she was very happy playing first base.
Now she's on her high school's Level III (mainly freshman, but some sophomores too) team, she starts at first base and is quite content doing so. However, one Saturday they had a tournament where they played more than one game. They really only have one pitcher on this team, Alex. So when they had two games, Shannon pitched one of the games because Alex's arm was really tired. Shannon hadn't pitched since 7th grade, so two years. It didn't go so well. They did win the game because the other team was really bad, but she walked quite a few batters and the final was like 16-12. At that point, I think the coach realized that Shannon pitching wasn't a great option.
Fast forward to yesterday's game. Alex was out with a sore arm. So they brought some girl down from the JV team to pitch for the Level III team. This is allowed because I think this girl is a sophomore. Anyway, this girl was quite obviously NOT happy about being made to pitch for the "freshman" team. It was totally beneath her, you know? She had a bad attitude from the first pitch. She clearly did not care anything about this team or the game. Our team was the visitors, and we scored three runs in the first inning. The other team scored 4 in the bottom of the first, mainly because this pitcher walked almost everyone. She just was clearly not trying and did not care. During the next several innings, our girls scored 4 more runs, but this pitcher walked so many batters, and hit about five batters as well, that by the bottom of the fourth inning the score was like 18-7. I cannot even tell you how many runs she walked in, because I lost count. Not only that, but when the bases were loaded and she threw a wild pitch? She didn't even run up to cover the plate. She just kind of stood there halfway between the pitcher's circle and home plate. The catcher ran back to get the ball, tossed it to home plate, and there was no one there.
I guess the coach finally got fed up and put Shannon in to pitch. The snotty pitcher went to Shannon's position, 1st base, where she proceeded to stand there with her glove over her eyes, other hand on hip. The bases were loaded and there were no outs. Shannon got FIVE warm up pitches. She did walk the first batter, but after that, she settled down. Second batter hit a grounder right back to her, and she threw it home for the force. One out. Next batter hit a grounder to the third baseman, who threw it home again for the force out. Next batter after that? Shannon struck her out. All the parents around me were cheering and saying what a great job she did. I was really proud.
Shannon, however? She was so mad about the game that she couldn't even be happy about the way she pitched. She is tired of being on a team where she feels like she's busting her ass and giving 100%, and everyone else is just going through the motions. I don't want her to get so frustrated that she decides not to play next year, because she's really good and I know she loves the game and it would be a shame if she didn't play. But she's tired of playing on crappy teams. I can't even tell you how mad she was at that girl they brought down to pitch. She said she would have rather pitched the game herself than have someone out there who didn't care. But no one knew that girl was going to be like that until the game started.
I keep telling her that there are only two weeks left, just to keep giving it her all, and if she keeps giving 100% and being the team leader/cheerleader, that she WILL get noticed at tryouts next year, and maybe even make varsity, which is where she wants to be. It's frustrating to watch her lose interest and faith in a game she loves so much.
What would you tell her?