Late night games, long practices, and much more.
Emerald Connection, May 1, 2023
By: Dylan Kosares
I step up to the plate, and my heart races. The pitcher leans back on her heels, and I dig my cleat in getting ready to swing. The ball comes flying down, and by half way I can tell that I should swing. It’s a good pitch. I bring my elbow down, twist, and swing. The ball hits the bat with a bang. I feel the force in my arms as the bat pushes the ball out into the air. Without looking up to see where the ball goes, I drop the bat and sprint to first base. When I look around to see where the ball is, it’s far enough behind third base that I can keep running and take second base.
My parents have always supported my brother, MJ, and me playing sports. So, I played many growing up: basketball, lacrosse, soccer, and more. Only one sport, though, has had the impact on me that softball has. I started softball very young, swinging a plastic bat around the yard. My dad started coaching me on a team when I was 7 years old, and we stuck with it together all through elementary school. By the time I was nine, my team was winning championships.
In the summer between my third and fourth grade years, I joined the Montclair Softball team with a bunch of other girls. We had several coaches, one being my dad. We had a lot of fun and all grew together. When we began, we didn’t know very much about the sport. We all started to train together, and collectively, we got better. That year, we played in the fourth and fifth grade championships. We ended up winning and getting our trophy in the trophy case at Montclair. The next year, we had pretty much the same team, give or take a couple girls. My dad decided to sign us up for the sixth and seventh grade bracket, even though we were only going into fifth grade. We had to train harder and play with some different rules. We had to learn to better navigate the bases and become stronger. We played games and won most of them leading us to the championships. We made it to the final two and lost by only one run. That year, I learned to be resilient as there were many changes to the team. Even though we didn’t win the whole thing, we were still very proud of ourselves for taking a risk and playing up.
Playing on a softball team taught me several things. My biggest takeaways were developing a strong work ethic and valuing teamwork. I learned that you have to work hard to get better, push yourself to practice more often, and to always try your hardest. Before the Montclair team, I had never played for a team that was as close as we were. Our individual successes and failures were shared. They would affect each of us. If someone screwed up, we picked them up. We played as one. These qualities are relevant to pretty much everything I do. This sport helped to build my foundation when I was young. Its impact on my life has made me grow to love softball even more.
I loved everything about playing softball in Denver: late night games, long hot practices, and much more. Softball has helped me grow as a person, and it pushes me to my full athletic capability. I am really looking forward to the possibility I will play again on the Denver South team in high school. Taking a break from softball has been good, but I am ready to start playing again.