Peoria, Illinois. Louisville Slugger Sports Complex. Seventh Inning. Bases Loaded. Up by one. I’m sitting behind home plate screaming words of encouragement to my pitcher as nerves course through her as she tries to finish off this win at Nationals.
Now I know what you might be thinking, "Great! ANOTHER blog from Payton about softball!? Why the heck should I even read this? Softball’s just a shrunk down version of baseball!" But wait, this blog post is more than that.
Many people can look at my Instagram, Facebook, and even my vlogs and see it covered by photos and videos of softball. But softball is more than just a game and I am more than just a player.
Softball is what I do, not who I am. I am not just another female athlete that gets mad when her sport doesn’t get recognized. I am not just another dumb jock. I am not just another face you see in the weight room every day.
That may be how you label me, but what you can’t see is how far I’ve come and how much I’ve had to work to get to where I am. With all the hours of time and preparation I have spent trying to master the skills of my sport, no wonder I talk about it most of the time. It’s what I spend most of my time doing.
But behind the scenes are a lot of skills I've learned because of sports. I have to be strategic. I have to be a leader. I have to be compassionate. I have to be motivated. I have to be resilient.
Some students see just another girl in shorts and a t-shirt with her hair pulled back, who didn’t want to “try” to look good at school that day. But, what I really am is a student-athlete who is tired from morning practice. I used my 30 minutes to change to study for my college credit classes. Before being an athlete, I am a student. School always comes first. I am in NHS, Renaissance, FCA, Blue Jay Journal TV, and I’ve always had a love for English. I am thankful for my sport because it allows me to be able to go to a great college where I am able to pursue a degree in something I love to do.
I won’t let these stereotypes determine my path in life and determine my worth. After all, I get to decide what path I take in life. Perhaps we all should not let people’s judgments sway our choices. Be who you want to be. I know I am.