Daily Archives: October 21, 2016
If you’ve been a regular Life in the Fastpitch Lane reader, you know I love inspirational stories about real softball players. Not just the ones who make all the headlines, but also those who you may not see on TV but inspire anyway.
(If you’re not a regular reader, be sure to search through some older posts!)
Today is a great example. I first met Kaylee Arendt when she played for me at 14U. She
actually didn’t show very well in her first day of tryouts, probably because she was nervous, but she really wanted to make the team so she came back the next day and made a great showing.
I had the pleasure of coaching her that season, and also working with her in private lessons. I found her to be a coach’s dream – engaged, driven and very coachable.
A couple of years later she started playing high school ball. The varsity coach there (who I am happy to report was finally let go this year) didn’t seem to agree with my assessment. Despite the fact that Kaylee had tremendous power and a great attitude, he flat out told her that she would never play varsity softball. She just wasn’t good enough and never would be, according to him.
That might have devastated a lot of players and cause them to leave the game. Not Kaylee. She did quit playing HS ball, but she continued to play during the summers. Her goal was to play in college.
As you can probably tell by the accompanying photo, that goal was achieved with the support of her parents Roger and Deanna. She played at another school her freshman year, and is now playing first base for Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Go Flying Dutchmen! (Unfortunately the roster hasn’t been updated yet.)
I heard she had a strong fall ball season, and I have no doubt she’ll be tearing it up come spring!
This is an important lesson for any softball player. Softball is a game of adversity and disappointment. Even when you’re doing well you’re often failing more than you succeed, especially at the plate. It takes a special kind of person to play this game at all. But if you believe in yourself, and work hard, you can overcome the obstacles that get in your way. That applies to life in general too, by the way.
Personally, I’m happy to see Kaylee doing so well, and I thank her mom Deanna for allowing me to share her story. If you’re a player who maybe didn’t make the team you wanted, or aren’t getting on the field as much as you would like, or have been told you don’t have what it takes, remember this story.
Don’t be defined by what others think. Just keep working and pursuing your goals. You may just surprise a lot of people, and wind up on the winning side after all.