Growing up, I tried many different sports and enjoyed playing them all. Then, one day, a friend invited me to come play recreational softball--rec ball. It was then that I suddenly fell into a serious, all-consuming relationship with softball. I had never experienced feeling about practice the way I did or looking forward to playing the games like I did. I was hooked on softball. After playing rec ball for a couple of years, my family and I realized that I wanted to move on to bigger and better things so we began to look for a select team. My parents asked other softball-crazed families who is the best select team in the area. Everyone we asked immediately answered, "The Bombers." Right then I knew that I wanted to be a part of the Bombers, so never having played select ball before, I went out on a whim and showed up to tryouts. I quickly learned that I made the 14U team as an outfielder, aspiring pitcher and left handed power hitter. I was so excited to be a part of the best softball around!
My first year as a Bomber was crammed full of struggles and disappointments. I got started playing select ball late, and since I was late, my skill set was behind my teammates. I was filled with anxiety before the dreaded three-hour Sunday practices and many times, filled with tears after. At one point, my mom even asked me if this is really what I wanted to pursue. That first season I was presented with a choice: be content as a fat girl on the bench that never played or put my head down and work. Either way the choice was mine. The Bombers had given me a great opportunity to do more things through softball than I even imagined possible and I didn't want to lose it. So, I made the choice to work and that’s exactly what I began to do. Early morning hitting before school, late night lessons, staying after practice to get more reps in, those are the things I began to crave. The progress was slow to show but as much as I wished to be successful, I wanted to prove those people wrong who told me I couldn't.
During my freshman year of high school, a drastic change occurred. As we ventured into the playoffs, my high school coach asked me to catch and I fell in love with it. Many told me that I was too old to switch positions and learn the craft of catching but I knew in my heart it was where I was meant to be. I also knew that because of my desire to catch, I would have to put my head down even further and work even harder to try to catch up with the other catchers, not only the ones in my class but across the entire organization. During this time, Coach Scott heard of me catching during high school and contacted my parents and me with a crazy, radical idea: he wanted me to move to the Gold team for an entire summer to learn to catch under Coach James while catching the best pitchers in the organization. This was such a crazy idea that no one had ever attempted it before. Coming to the Gold Team was eye opening for sure; the first time I caught Tiarra Davis, she almost broke my nose! This was one of the hardest and most rewarding times of my life. I could never have gained the same quality or amount of knowledge about the craft of catching but it also tore me to pieces not being on the field. Many of my Bomber sisters, both older and younger, come in and helped me out as well by allowing me to catch their pitching lessons to allow me get more reps in and improve even more.
Being a Bomber is more than a means of obtaining an athletic scholarship. Being a part of the Bombers has also taught me other things as well like being willing to give back to others. During my years with the Bombers we've given back by supporting Relay for Life to fight breast cancer, remembering our nation's fallen heroes through 4 the Fallen, and expanding to help even more with the 4 The Heroes foundation. They have taught me that the name on the front of the shirt is ALWAYS more important than the one on the back. They taught me to appreciate those who battled to pave the path for me to walk on. They taught me to take care of my younger Bombers sisters and do everything I can to give them even more opportunities than I had. But most importantly, the Bombers taught me to always be thankful to of the freedom we have in this great nation because of the men and women who wear their service uniform and protect this country to keep us safe.
If you know anything about me, where I am in softball now to where I was in softball when I started, you know that I turned out a complete opposite of where I started. That's alright, though, because sometimes we never know where we are going to end up so we have to trust that we will end up getting to where we are meant to be. I knew from the very first day I became a part of the Bomber organization that they are like a family. At that moment, I had no idea how much of a family resemblance they really had. Loving families tell you like it is, they don’t sugar-coat things. Sometimes they say things that are hurtful at the time to help guide you to be the best you can become. No matter what, though, loving families believe in you 100% of the time. Just like my Bomber family.
Throughout all of the "great grandma's drawers" and the "everybody get downs," the Bombers have put me through the grinder to help make me the young lady and student athlete I am today. Although I don’t have a catchy "Why you so good?" saying like Shelby, a SAT score to get into an ivy league college like Sydney, or a twin sister that has competed by my side my entire life like Whitney, I have a great family. And at the end of the day, family is all you really need.