by Joelle Fanger
For a softball mom, every summer is different.
In the beginning, summers were spent at the softball field with my neighbors and friends. I watched my daughter run the bases in her baggy uniform and her oversized helmet that fell down over her eyes with every step. The after-game snack was as important as who won the game. The end-of-season trophy would be proudly displayed in her room.
Now, fast forward ten years. That little girl who needed band-aids put on her knees every time she slid into a base is now an expert at the hook slide and avoiding the tag. Too bad she hasn’t mastered the task of removing the cup full of infield dirt from the waistband of her uniform before she gets into the car. I have watched her grow as an athlete and make life- long friends. Some of those friends play for the competition, so the hugs have to wait until after the game.
Bring on the 18 Gold travel team, and summers as a softball mom take on a whole new meaning. Instead of packing lunches and coolers, I am packing airline tickets and a softball bag that I hope is under the 50-pound weight limit. The 12:30am pick up runs at the airport become an almost weekly event and you soak up as much softball information as possible before the next trip to the departure lanes. Instead of a trophy she is praying for a text from one of the college coaches saying “I like the way you play the game.” The reward she is seeking from all of the hard work, blood, sweat and tears turns out not be a huge trophy like the early days. It turns out she just wants to be noticed. Keeping the love for the game in the forefront and letting her know the rest will all fall into place is a common conversation.
Enjoy every summer you have being a softball mom. Especially the ones where you can be present for most of the games, rain or shine, bad tan lines and all. Before you know it you will be pushing a grocery cart down the aisle while watching your daughter’s game from halfway across the country on Gamechanger. The other shoppers can’t figure out how a grown woman can be so addicted to her smart phone but your daughter is up to bat and the count is full. You only appear more interesting, or shall we say odd, when that little rectangle that represents your daughter moves from the batter’s box to second base and you do a little dance and a fist pump. Only a true softball mom can understand and appreciate your behavior.
Joelle Fanger is the Marketing Manager at Ringor. Joelle has played fastpitch from rec through college, and as a coach and softball mom, has a passion for the sport..