All athletes eventually come to the end of their career. For many of our softball players, the end comes when they play their last college game, for others when they play their last high school or travel ball game. Now that doesn’t mean that some of these players don’t still have a standout career in church league co-ed softball because many do, but we all know that their “real” softball career is tied to their more formal competition.
So what do you do when the end comes? For many people, this is a life-altering and challenging time of their lives. They have been “ball players” for so long that they identify with that role and, in many cases, have relished the opportunities. When someone has been driven to succeed in a sport, you know the end is difficult.
- Continue being active! Take some of the time you spent on softball and start hiking, running, yoga or any other physical activity that will keep your body moving. You are used to having your sport as a way to exert yourself, challenge yourself physically and mentally, and compete. There are a lot of other activities that will keep you active and fill the competitive drive.
- Find another team! There are all kids of clubs and community groups that you can invest your time into. Whether it’s Special Olympics or Habitat for Humanity or your church or community center, there are a lot of teams that can use your help and give you a new feeling of belonging. Is it the same as the post championship hugs and celebration? It could be!
- Share what you have learned! Give back to the game by getting involved with coaching or umpiring. Volunteer to help with a local team that would value your knowledge and experience. Give lessons to some of the local kids who really want to learn. Get trained in the skills that are needed to be an umpire and get back out on the field. Mentor young players who are looking to accomplish the same things you have. There are a lot of great opportunities for you to pass on your love of the game.
Bottom Line – the game ends for everyone but the things you have learned will stay with you for a lifetime. When the games stop the opportunities don’t!