I remember back when I was younger, a teenager and even before then, my heart breaking after losing the last game of the season. Which ever sport I was playing at the time didn’t matter. I just remember being so sad that it had come to an end. I have never really thought back to all those times that I just cried and cried till now, but I remember it hurting so much. You ever wonder why? For most young people, they are playing because they love it and because they are good at the sport. For me, I was good at the sports I played, but more than anything, I absolutely loved to play! Heck, I still love to play! Every chance I get! I remember, when it came to basketball, I cried at every major ending in my career. Middle school to high school and then to college. And of course I cried after my last college game. In middle school, we won the County Tournament which was the big game at that age, so we went out on a high. However, I struggled coming into my freshman year in high school. It wasn’t the same as middle school and I had to adjust and I remember crying because of how hard and different things were. Eventually, I figured it out and it worked out of course but it wasn’t easy. My last high school game broke my heart. I think I cried more after that game than any of them. It was the area tournament and we were playing Bob Jones High School, at their place. I don’t feel like we should have lost, and maybe that is why it hurt so much. But also, high school sports were over for me. It hurt. In college, my heart was broken because it was the last game that I was ever going to play competitively. Meaning, it was the last game that was ever going to matter. I mean, I was done. I had been playing since I was nine, and now it was over. That was a hard pill to swallow.
This past weekend, I had to watch my softball girls hearts get broken over two really tough losses in Montgomery at the State Tournament. We won the State Championship last year and it was a beautiful thing! Something I will NEVER forget! We had high hopes of winning it again, and I truly believed that they could do it again! However, to win the state championship two years in a row is an extremely tall feat. Everything has to line up just right. Games have to be played without much room for error. Unfortunately, that did not happen for us this year. After we lost the first game, I saw the wind completely taken from their sails. Not all of them necessarily, but they just looked worn out and beat down. We also knew how difficult it was going to be to make it all the way to the championship game from the losers bracket. We were going to have to win six or seven games in two days. Not easy! To make matters worse, it was beyond what you would call hot. It literally felt like we were sitting on the face of the sun. We had a few hours before our next game, and we had to sit there in that awful heat. By the next game, from the very beginning, the girls energy was struggling. Mine was too. Even the other team seemed to be somewhat out of it. I will give credit where credit is due though, the girls tried. They tried to get each other pumped up. They tried to cheer and get excited but nothing was coming together for us. We weren’t hitting that well and we made careless mistakes in the field. It was the top of the seventh inning and we were down by four at this point. First out, I saw the tears starting to form. Almost like they knew that it wasn’t our day. That, mixed in with the exhaustion from playing and being in that heat all day. We did end up scoring two runs after the first out, but it still didn’t feel right. Second out, more tears came. Third out, our season is over. For some, it will be the last time they play in a game like that. For others, they move onto college and get to experience a whole other world of collegiate sports. For the rest, they will come back next year, fighting to get back to that state tournament.
My advice to you my loves and to anyone else that deals with this sort of thing…keep fighting the good fight and keep the faith. 1 Tim 6:12
Life is journey like no other. You are going to continue to experience heartbreak in more ways than one. Losing is apart of life. It’s how you respond that matters. Learn from your mistakes. Always be better than you were the day before. Build each other up, and DO NOT break each other down. Think before you speak. Words can hurt and they can never be taken back. You can apologize, but those words might never be forgotten. Which is something we all need to remember! Respect your coaches. This one is HUGE!! My favorite coach, and the one that I respected the most, was the one that frustrated me the most at times. She got under my skin sometimes. I didn’t understand why she did some of the things she did. She would get mad at me or frustrated with me. Yell at me. Let me tell you though, she was the best coach I ever had and I will NEVER forget her. She made me better and I respected her for it! You may not understand a lot of things that your coach or future coaches will do, but believe it or not, they know a little bit more than you do. They wouldn’t be in that position if they didn’t. I know a lot of you think that you know everything at this point in your life, but trust me when I say that you don’t. There is so much of life that you have left to experience and that will be a tough lesson for you to learn on your own one day. Trust me! Your coaches love you despite what you might think. I love my girls so much more than they will ever know! Even when they frustrate the ever living daylights out of me!! So, trust and respect your coach/coaches. BE IN THE MOMENT. Love where you are! Do not, I repeat, DO NOT wish your life away. Do not wish for the next season of life to get here. You don’t believe me now, but I promise that one day you will miss this.
Last, but certainly not least…KEEP THE FAITH!! When everything else in this world fails you, your faith is what will get you through. Hold on tight to the God of the universe and He will NEVER leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)