I know for many of our readers, these words are the most blasphemous words I have ever typed. We all know that the only reason to play fastpitch in general, and specifically, travel ball is to chase the dream of a scholarship and a great collegiate career. All players and parents who invest themselves in this game are motivated by the dream of playing in the Women’s College World Series.
Well as shocking as it will be for many people to hear, the answer is a resounding NO!!!
There are a lot of really talented softball players who play this game at a very high level, who are playing simply because they love playing. They go to practice and work their butts off. They give up weekend after weekend playing in travel ball tournaments all over the country with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they really think they are giving anything up, they want to play!
Now, how every player who fits this description gets to this point takes a different route to get to there. And, how their parents have dealt with the bombshell that their kid doesn’t want to play in college is also varied but the truth is that it happens a lot more than many people want to believe or are willing to accept.
One of the most talented kids I have had the opportunity to work with has reached this point. Now, when I say talented I mean really talented. If I was still coaching at the college level I would be recruiting this player with all the gusto I could muster. She has taken lessons with me for more two years and will continue through her senior year. She plays on a very good travel team that you would all recognize. Her parents have carted her all over the country and will do the same again next summer, if Covid allows!
She loves to play. She loves to compete. She loves her teammates. She wants to see how much she can improve at something that she really enjoys. And she will age out next summer, play her last travel ball game, and be heartbroken that it is over.
Then she will go off to college and be a student. Shocking? Not really!