The All-Star Who Almost Wasn’t

Karisa Majors

My daughter, Karisa, is an entire year younger than her classmates. Because of this we she has always played a year up in softball in order to be on the same playing level as those she will be competing with at school.

She is a great ball player but her size and quiet nature (on the field) often gets her overlooked. Her skills have been enough for her to make the competitive team but she ends up with minimal playing time.

This year when we signed her up for little league we decided to keep her down with girls her own age. I was hoping by being one of the older, more experienced girls on the team she would get more playing time thus building her confidence. My plan backfired.

She was placed on a team with a coach who had no interest in coaching. I have tried very hard this year not to complain publicly. I understand that coaches are volunteers etc but this season was really ridiculous.

They had a total of three practices the entire season spanning from August until May and they were not beneficial at all. I have three kids whose schedules overlap so I can’t commit to coaching. I did volunteer to arrange the snack schedule and arrange two separate outings to the batting cages. It’s not like I sat around and complained and did nothing to try and help the situation because I didn’t want to be THAT parent.

It was hard to watch the girls play. The majority were first year Majors players and they had no idea what they were doing or the rules and well, neither did the coach. There was no rhyme or reason for where and when he played the girls. Unless my daughter was pitching it was a crap shoot where and if she would play. Regardless, my daughter still seemed to be having fun on the field and I convinced myself that is what mattered.

When we received the e-mail announcing All-Star try-outs I asked if she wanted to try-out and she said, “No!” I was dumbfounded. She loves softball. She was one of the best girls out there this year. I asked a few questions and she just shrugged her shoulders and said I just don’t want to.

I didn’t want to be the mom to force my kid to try-out because I think she should so I dropped it. The first try-out went by without her on the field. I received a text from a parent questioning why Karisa was not out there and informing us there would be another try-out.

I decided to probe a little more. It turns out this coach and this season really did a number on her confidence. I told her not to let anyone get in the way of doing what she loves. I wanted her to know not to go after something because she is scared of failing. I wanted her to believe in herself. I held her in my arms and told her the decision was still hers.

Being a parent is not an easy task. I was really conflicted about asking my daughter a second time about trying out. I didn’t want her to feel pressured to try-out only to please me. At the same time I didn’t want her to miss out on this amazing opportunity.

I strongly believe parent should not live vicariously through their kids. However giving our kids a push is not always the same thing. Kids need to be challenged. Parents need to make sure their child is standing firm in their own beliefs. Sometimes we need to hold their hand and tell them it is okay to say no and sometime it is okay to be scared but do it anyway

In the end it was my gut feeling that led me to ask again and question her reasoning. I know my daughter. I know how much softball means to her and how much she loves to play.

Before I left her room I asked her to spend some time and pray about it. I made it clear this would be the last time I asked her about it, for real this time. If she wanted to try-out I would be happy to take her but she needed to want it.

After a while she came out of her room and asked if I could wash her uniform. She went to two try-outs and shined like the star she is. She walked off that field each night with a smile on her face saying “Did you see me hit the ball to the outfield?”, “Did you see me make that catch?”, “I don‘t know what happened on that throw it left my hand weird.”, “That was fun.”

We received official confirmation today that she made the All-Star team.


Managing Disappointments

press on

Over the last few months I have started to run again. Although I have not been shy about it on Twitter and Instagram, I have been reluctant to share any lofty goals in the form of a blog post for fear of failure, again. It turns out I was right, sort of.

me running I suffer from a severe Vitamin D deficiency causing bone pain and muscle weakness. Not cool if you want to run consistently. I thought I was ready to “officially” announce my bid for a half marathon on March 1st. However despite only running three times a week, with every preventive care imaginable, my legs rebelled after I reached the seven mile mark.

It was during that seven mile run I received a phone call from my daughter’s would be softball coach advising us she did not make the team.

My daughter had expressed interest in playing club ball. We knew that meant committing to traveling to practices, games and taking a big financial hit. We did what we do best and prayed about it.

We had a plan. If she didn’t make the team she would play another year of Little League Softball and try again in the Summer. However from the very first try-out I fell in love with the club ball team. The coaches, the program and the parents felt like home.

kkc softball I was confident in her skill and she performed well. At the end of both try-outs I seriously thought she was a chew-in for the team. I was confident this team was the answer to a plethora of prayers that didn’t just include her making a team. We asked for a fit for our family time wise, financially and in line with God’s will.

Hearing the coach basically say, “Sorry your kid is not good enough for our team” stunk. Having to tell my daughter she didn’t make the team hurt my heart. She blinked back tears and said in a chipper voice, “That’s Okay!” I knew it wasn’t and that was okay too.

Then this past Saturday my son played in the Minors Winter Ball Championship Game. Each team having only one loss (to each other) all season. It was an intense game that did not end in our favor.

This game rivaled any big league world series game and that’s no joke. These kids played their hearts out. Big plays were made, small ball was played and at the end of the day the other team’s aggressiveness in extra innings won out.

It was heart breaking. The agony of defeat on the face of those ten-year old boys was more than this baseball mom could handle. The tears, so many tears from little boys who wiped them away trying to be men.

kbc baseball

The coach went into the dug-out and told them to hold their head up high because he was proud of them and they should be proud of how they played. Us parents clapped and cheered away our instinct to go hug and kiss our babies in an effort to let them know we were proud of them too.

So what does that mean for our family?

For me, I will continue to do everything I know how to try to get body to absorb Vitamin D and keep my legs healthy. I need to remind myself that one runners 5k is equivalent to another runners marathon. Perhaps the lesson is to be content with who I am and stop trying to measure up to the unrealistic runner I envision myself to be.

For my daughter, she will play Little League Softball as planned. She has been subjected to and recovered from her first real life disappointment. She has learned that it is okay to be sad she didn’t accomplish something she wanted so bad. She knows it’s up to her to continue to learn and grow as a player if this is the route she wants to continue. That also means there might be more rejection and that’s okay too.

For my son, there is no time to dwell on what might have been. He has try-outs for Spring baseball this weekend. Perhaps he needed to appreciate the progress he has made this far. When he first got behind the plate as a catcher he could barely get the ball back to the pitcher. Now he is throwing kids out at second with authority. After missing all Fall ball because of football, this Winter he caught his first pop-up, hit an in the park home run and hit in one of only two runs his team scored in the Championship game.

I would be lying if I said the sting of the disappointment does not still linger. At the end of the day disappointments are a part of life. It is how we manage those disappointments that will build our character. Our family will continue to press on toward our goals, praising God (for the good and bad) throughout our entire journey.

How do you handle disappointments?


Life of a Softball Mom: Try-Outs

phil 4

I have held the title of Softball Mom for two and a half years. Up until now it has all been fun and games. I sign my girl up for Little League Softball twice a year (Spring and Fall), pay my money and she is guaranteed a spot on a team with some playing time. It feels like it was just yesterday I was writing the post Softball Begins.  Then she started Junior High!

We know our girl has skills but she if often overlooked. She is a tiny girl, always smiling and lacks the perception of intensity but she can play. Seriously. I’m not saying that because I’m her mommy. I had a few conversations with her about perception on the field and she started to put my words into practice.

Before we knew it the first quarter of the school year was over and it was time for try-outs. I pulled up into the parking lot after school, not sure what the protocol was for Junior High parents watching but I didn’t care. I watched (with a few other anxious parents) as my baby girl took the field with nearly thirty other girls. Half of those girls had on their pretty Little League All-Star uniforms. Intimidation at its best!

I watched, critically, during the two-day try-outs. I knew she was going to have to shine just a bit brighter to earn a spot. Fortunately for her she was given that opportunity. On day one she was playing second base, with runners on first and second. The coach yelled, “Plays at three.” Coach hit a hard ground ball to my girl. She charged the ball scooping it up in her glove and by instinct tagged the runner and threw the ball to first for the double play! Then the coach said, “Or you could do that. Nice play second base!”

On day two of try-outs she strategically wore the same thing in hopes of the coach remembering she was the second baseman who made that great play and maybe she might learn her name. She took the field again. There she stood in her ready position. A line drive was hit at her head. She put her glove up making an effortless catch, spun and doubled up the girl at first. Coach immediately asked for her name. After, she turned and flashed that “did you see me mom” smile in my direction and I nodded in approval.

We left try-outs knowing only fifteen girls would make the competitive team. The anxiety of the unknown was felt by every member of our family. That night we prayed Philippians 4:5-7 as a family. My son, who spends his days tormenting and antagonizing his sister, said, “There is no way you didn’t make that team. I watched your try-outs. You were better than most of those girls out there.” It was so sweet.

The next day I wrote this on my face book page:

At some point today my daughter will walk up to a posted white sheet of paper with 15 names on it, hoping and praying that one of those names is hers. Wishing I could be there at that moment to hold her hand and celebrate with her or give her a hug and let her know she is still a star in our book…. Being a mommy to a big girl is rough Yo!

Then I wrote this:

I called Mr. C and told him I wanted to call the school and ask them to please tell me but I didn’t want to be THAT mom. Turns out he is okay with being THAT dad because he called the school and asked if they would please just tell him if our daughter’s name was on the list….


Words can’t explain how excited our family was for our daughter.  My baby girl was so happy. It was the first time she worked her butt off for something she wanted so desperately.  I was proud of her for stepping out on that field, setting her nerves aside and shined!