Interesting Fact! “Laura Berg, has won three gold medals and one silver medal, and is the most successful Olympic athlete in softball.” (1)
Did you know that 40 million Americans play at least one softball game each year? It’s true!
If you have ever played softball, then you know why I love it so much. If you haven’t, then let me explain. I love it because I love the competition, and the joy you feel when you win. But mainly, I like to have a team that has my back in every situation, on and off the field. I also like having my teammate's back, not just the other way around. When you play softball, you create friendships that you wouldn’t normally have. For example, I’ve made friendships from softball, that I never would have made if I never played. On my travel team, I met girls from South Glens Falls, Lake George and Hudson Falls. Now I’m gonna tell you about my favorite softball player, Jennie Finch, but after that, I’ll tell you a little more about softball.
I am Jennie Finch’s number one fan. Now you’re probably wondering who Jennie Finch is. She is a former Olympian gold medalist in softball. She was a pitcher and a first baseman. She pitched for the “Arizona Wildcats, the USA national softball team, and the Chicago Bandits” (2). One of her coaches told her she would never make it to the professionals, and to give up then. Did that stop her? Nope! She proved them wrong! She worked hard, and made it to the Olympics. She is 36 years old now, and is retired. She also wrote a book, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s called Throw Like a Girl. She has three lovely children. I know they’re lovely because I met their mother, and I’m guessing they’re just like her. I mean, why wouldn’t they want to be? Anyway, I met Jennie Finch at the Log Jam. I had dinner with her, my family, and our friends (including Jennie Finch’s friends) when she came to town. Then, she ran a clinic for girls interested in softball, which I went to, obviously. After that, I went on a boat ride with her. Finally, she had another clinic the day after the boat ride. She is a nice lady, and if her kids are anything like her, they will grow up to be very mature and sweet adults. That's why I am Jennie Finch’s number one fan. Keep reading to learn more about the amazing sport of softball.
Where Do I Stand On The Dirt Diamond?
To play softball, you need to know what positions there are, and where they are. There are nine positions on a field. There's an infield and an outfield. The infield stands on the dirt in the front of the field and the outfield stands on the grass behind the infield. Here’s where the infield plays and what positions there are in the infield. There's a white circle in the middle of the infield. There's a pitcher’s mound in the center of the circle. That’s where the pitcher stands. Clearly, the pitcher is the person that pitches the ball to the catcher, who clearly catches it. The catcher squats behind a white plate shaped like an upside down house. There's also a first baseman, who stands next to first base, a second baseman, who stand in between first base and second base, a shortstop, who stands in between second and third base, and lastly, a third baseman, who stands next to third base. That's the infield. Now, let’s talk about the outfield. The outfield is the players who stand on the grass behind the infielders, to back them up if the ball gets past them, or if there’s a strong batter who can hit the ball far and hard. One of the three outfielders is right field. They stand in between the first and second basemen and behind them. Also, there's center field. They stand directly behind second base, NOT behind the second baseman. Lastly in the outfield, there's a left fielder. They stand behind and in between shortstop and the third baseman. Understanding the location of these positions will help you if you join a team.
You Don’t Want To Get Hit, Trust Me!
This section is all about the equipment you need, because you don’t want to get hit without gear on! O.K., so if you’re interested in playing any position except catcher, these are the things you would need and some things I recomend you should have.
Face mask (optional, but recommended)
Cleats (optional, but recommended, you can use sneakers, too)
If you are interested in playing catcher, you would need the gear above, and the gear below.
Catcher's Glove (optional, but recommended)
Catcher’s Helmet (needed)
Shin Guards (needed)
Chest Guard (needed)
To get these things, I recommend going to a sports store. One of my personal favorites is Dick’s Sporting Goods, but you can go anywhere you want, and I’m guessing that they would have this gear on Amazon and other online stores like that. There's the equipment you would need if you’re thinking about playing softball.
Now I Wanna Play!
After reading this, I know you’re probably thinking about getting involved in softball if you aren’t already. I mean, I would if I were you! Anyway, here’s two ways how to get involved in softball. The first way is if you want to do a local softball team, so you would play against people in your school district. You would first tell your parents that you want to do a local team, and they will sign you up. The second way is if you want to be on a travel team, so you would play against other school districts. First, you would have to tell your parents that you’re interested in doing a travel team. They will then find a team looking for more members. Then, you have to go to something called a tryout. The coach comes up with drills and all you have to do is do them. This way, the coach can see if you’re capable enough to be on his or her team. If you are, great for you! Start practicing and get ready for your first tournament! If you aren’t, keep trying hard, and outwork the others. Remember, Jennie Finch was told she wasn’t capable enough. But look at her now! She is an Olympian gold medalist. You can be just like her, (if you want to). But just remember to work hard and give it all you got. Like my dad always says, get comfortable being uncomfortable.
By: Lindsey P.