Saying Goodbye

After six years of playing in the East High Softball program, I say goodbye

Elise Dowler

I’ve always been told that the end of high school is bittersweet. Sweet because it means we’ve survived high school, but bitter because, after the excitement of prom and graduation parties, the life that we’ve known drastically changes as we go off on our various journeys. Among the bitterness, there lies a goodbye that may be one of the hardest to say, the one we say to our sports teams.

It’s finally the end of my senior year, there are going to be a lot of lasts as well as firsts and I can’t lie when I say that there were times when I complained about having to head to practice every day after school. And then, of course, there was always some stupid drill that would drive me insane and that would make me question why I spent all of my free time stepping in front of line drives and taking a pitch to the arm like a champ. I know that when the day for me to lace up my cleats and step out on the field with my team for the last time comes, I’ll miss it. Softball to me is very different from other sports because we don’t have school during summer, so we spend up to 3 to 4 hours a day together throughout the whole summer and spring practicing. And by the end of it, we pretty much become a family.

I started playing softball when I was five years old, it has been over 13 years now. As I approach the last season of softball with my high school team I begin to realize how much I’ve learned through not only the game but through my teammates as well. I’ve realized that when you join a sports team, you join a family. No matter how much these people know about you, they just automatically have your back for everything and become the ones you can count on. There is just a sense of relief when the team brings you in as one of their own. This is true even more so on a softball team because of how much time we spend together.

Another thing I have realized is how much I still have to learn as well as things I wish to say. If I were to say something it would be this. Firstly to my teammates, as athletes, we are trained to give everything we have to our sport, to never give up, to always go the extra mile. The training we were taught far surpasses the field. It follows the lives of every athlete and is what makes the fabric of a team the special bond that it is. As we get older we learn that sports aren’t all about winning and losing. I’d rather lose every game I’ve ever played with my teammates than win every game with some strangers wearing the same jersey as me. I’m glad to have learned that lesson because it’s taught me that nothing is as important as the people you surround yourself with. All that being said, I want to thank all of my teammates I’ve ever had but especially a special group of girls who played a huge part in making me who I am today on and off the softball field. Thank You for laughing with me, crying with me, sweating with me, complaining with me and working with me, thank you for making me who I am today. Thank You for those pre-game bus rides and also the after game bus rides while we rock out to Miley Cyrus “Party in the U.S.A” or T-Pain “Apple Bottom Jeans” those are memories I’ll never forget. And secondly, to my coach. Let me start off by saying thank you for spending your free time being my coach over the years. I know you don’t have to be here but you want to because you love the game. You want to install your knowledge on us so maybe one day we can go and pass the knowledge on to someone else. There are probably tons of other things you could be doing instead of running practice but you make the sacrifice, and that means a lot to everyone if we don’t show it. Lastly, thank you for running me to death, so not only am I physically healthier but I know that I always have a little more left in me. I can’t tell you the amount of practices that have been just running. It wasn’t even the type of fun running games you play at school, no, instead it was just running up and down the field for the whole practice. All athletes know that the worst words to hear are “get on the line,” because you know you’re screwed. Even when I know my body is done, there is no possible way it can go on and all I want to do is quit, but I know I have to keep pushing.

To me, the list of thank yous and goodbyes go on and on and there is so much more I would love to say. But I’ll end with this, I’m going to miss the amazing memories I have made with my team but I am excited for what is yet to come. One thing I know for sure though is that I will not have as strong of a bond as I’ve had with my high school teammates in the future.