One Day This Won’t Be Your Life Anymore

I spent nine years chasing the game I loved. I played every weekend, holiday and summer until I was 18 years old. I collected memories and trophies and battle scars. And then, in one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, I walked away. I felt sure that it was best for me and most days, I believe I was right. I was watching my dad’s team play this weekend (he coaches high school softball) and a parent asked me “What would tell these girls if you knew they’d listen?” And this is what I would say:

One day you will walk off the field for the last time. One day you will untie your cleats forever. One day you will put your glove in your bag and there it will stay for months at a time. One day your tan lines will fade. You’ll forget the feeling of seams beneath your fingers. You’ll struggle to remember the way it felt to hit the perfect pitch. You’ll see your teammates once or twice a year instead of every single day. You won’t slide into second. You won’t round first. One day you’ll be on the other side the fence.

One day this won’t be your life anymore. And when it’s not, you won’t remember the things that you’d think. You’ll have no idea how many times you struck out. You won’t know how many errors you made. You won’t be impressed with how many home runs you hit. You won’t care about your batting average or ERA. For the most part, you won’t remember wins and losses at all.

After your last inning has come and gone, you’re going to remember the times when you wanted to quit— but didn’t. You’re going to remember the teammates (and families) you loved along the way. You’re going to remember playing in the freezing cold, driving rain, and unbearable heat. You’re going to remember the hotel bonding and the eight hour road trips. You’re going to remember the early practices and late games. You’re going to remember the coaches that never gave up on you. But most of all, you’re going to remember the sheer happiness that came only from being between two chalk lines. You’re going to remember the moments you did more than you ever believed you could. You’re going to remember the times you used every bit of talent God gave you.

One day this won’t be your life anymore. So for today, run as fast as your feet will take you. Whether it’s a pop up to the pitcher or it bounces off the fence in left field. For today, swing as hard as you can. Commit to every pitch and give it everything you have. For today, make every play like it’s the last chance you’ll ever get. For today, play because you want to. Play because you need to. Play because the little girl you used to be fell in love with this game all those years ago.

For today, don’t stop until the last pitch is thrown. Play with every piece of your heart and leave it all on the field. One day, this won’t be your life anymore. When that day comes, make sure you wouldn’t change a thing.

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45 thoughts on “One Day This Won’t Be Your Life Anymore

      • I grew up playing this game every waking moment of my life: childhood, high school, and college. And now I’m coaching high school, I just forwarded this to all my girls. The only thing different is I remember every score, every error, and every home run lol .. But the message behind your article is touching to all of us who shared love for the game. Thank you.

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    • I play travel softball and for my JV team I’m in 8th grade. I worry now about how my life will be like in 10 years when I won’t be playing anymore. It scares me because it seems like softball is my life and I know it will always be my life but it scares me to think that I will stop playing. Thanks you so much for that read because I’m not scared anymore thank you so much!

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  1. I am currently playing college softball, I have played since I was little, it has always been my life and now I am feeling ever so slowly my life turning and the central focus of my life slowly shifting from softball to my career, I think about it everyday that one day will be my last and it breaks my heart, but for now I am living in the moment…playing as hard as I can and not stopping till the last out is made…

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  2. I will have my daughter read this, she is 15, a freshman in h.s. and been playing since she was 7. It has been a bumpy road, but softball has been a blessing for her and helped shape who she is today. I am crying now after reading this as I know that one day she will pass through this door. It is bittersweet, but loving something is never easy to let go of. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. The only word I can come up with is AWESOME!
    I’m going to share this with my daughter, she is always asking me, “Dad will you be upset if I don’t get a scholarship to play college ball?” my reply is, “Yes! But not upset at you, upset at the schools that passed you up!” Maybe your article will inspire her to work even harder than the 110% she already dedicated herself to.
    By the way… Did I comment? AWESOME

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  4. I had to walk away from the game I loved all my life after my sophomore year of college due to a career ending injury. Walking away from this game has been the hardest thing I have done but I want to say thank you for writing such a beautiful article. It hits every point exactly and I shed tears everytime I read it!

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  5. My husband and I coached our girls when they were young. They went on to play for years. When they had their children they coached or cheered them on. We always told people that we knew where our kids and grandkids were,at school, at work or on a ballfield somewhere. Thanks for this writing. It says it all.

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  6. This made me think of my two granddaughters. One is 21 and gave up the game a few years ago and the 15 year old eats, sleeps and would die for softball. I thought of the day my youngest one would make this decision and started crying because I know how much she loves the game.

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  7. I have been a coach of fastpitch for 13 years and watched my daughter play for 12, and this is why I still coach after she has hung her gear up, for the girls who love the early morning wakeup calls to go play the game. I have a new young group of girls that I coach now and they keep my passion for the game alive, thank you ladies, sincerely COACH

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  8. What a wonderful and touching article! My niece, a high school freshman deeply in love with the game, found this on Facebook and shared it. I’m so glad she did. I’ve never given much thought to such a time for her, but the fact that she shared this tells me she has and she knows what to file away in her memories. Thank you.

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  9. As the mom of two girls who always played, this brought a tear to my eye! I know when my oldest elected not to play college ball and focus on school, I was heart broken, but I understood. Now, that seems a lifetime ago although it was only two seasons!

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  10. Playing some type of ball including , fast pitch, slow pitch and baseball for over 25 years, I quit at 35 when I got
    married. I will always remember my last game playing against the young team for an aerospace company. Us old timers won and I hit a home run (fast pitch). I love your article. Some things in life is never forgotten. I am 84 now and first thing I do each morning is read the complete sports page. Jim Hughes

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  11. I’m so lucky to say my daughter was on that field, the day you came to watch your Dad’s team. Kelli plays for Coach Edwards on the Redwater Lady Dragons. She is struggling with this decision now….not sure how it will all end but thank you Emily Edwards for this. I know I was moved to tears every time I read it. I know this will give Kelli a lot more to think about, from someone that has experienced—one day this won’t be your life anymore

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw thank you. My dad loves Kelli and coaching y’all soooo much! I know better than anyone that it’s one of the toughest decisions she’ll ever make but whatever she chooses, make sure it’s what makes her happy. Life is weird and sometimes we don’t end up where we planned, but we always end up where we’re supposed to be! Best of luck to her in her final season!!!

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  12. I was very into sports, still I am but only from my heart now because I am not physically strong anymore though I am only 19, due to health issues I have to quit playing for my team and this brings tears in my eyes like what if.
    Thankyou so much for writting up on this.

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  13. I love softball so much i would trade anything over softball. I love going to my practices I love going to my game. Ever single time I go on to any softball field I put my game face on!! Not time to play around it game time.. Softball is what keeps me motivated! keeps me going on every single day.. I love having moments on the field with my teammates. Softball is my proud and joy!! I couldn’t imagine my life with out softball ⚾️⚾️

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  14. Back in the 1960’s, there wasn’t any organized girl’s softball in the town that I grew up in, none in high school either. But in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at the Catholic school I attended we played during recess, PE and had round robins conducted by our beloved Sarah Soares, our PE teacher. We got together after school on Friday’s and on Saturdays with our classmates and played co-ed games during the Spring. It was the best way to learn how to be a team player, learn communication and commitment skills. It was the best time of my school years. And when my daughters started to play in recreation softball at their own choosing, one of the best times of being a mother of daughters began.
    And my life wouldn’t be the best it has been if it wasn’t for softball…Love the game.

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  15. This is a great outlook! My son wrestled from the time he was 7 through his senior year in high school! He learned so many valuable character qualities that he will take with him! You said it all perfectly and even though you were talking about softball it goes for all sports!

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  16. Good article. I played softball growing up through high school , college and until I had my son. I remember as a Senior in college on the bus going to a game telling the younger kids to savor these moments, as they will be gone before you know it. I loved playing– whether it was practice or games. Enjoyed the Game and the friendship. I am in my 50s and still friends with people I met through softball.Wish I was still involved in some way.

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  17. I have two Great Grandaughters 13 &9, who are playing now and I see the dedication they have given their teams and the game. Could not be prouder for the players they have become! So good to know their goals and how they have given of themselves! Hooray for Softball and those that give so much to Coach all girls who play!

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  18. This literally made me pause and remember the great memories in my life of playing sports with my family, friends, and even the strangers I’ll know their name but all I know is we had fun. You did an amazing job on this writing. I’m not the emotional type but this made me step outside to get air for a second. Every sprint I never ran out, every catch I dropped, and every morning team run I did and didn’t try hard, all of it came back to memory. Thank you so much this is read. Someone like me needed this more than you’ll ever know.

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  19. Yes I am there. My mind says “you can do it” my body says “don’t you dare”. I have the best memories of Fast Pitch Softball from the late 1960’s and slow pitch from the 1970’s to the last game I played in 2008. My cleats are gone, but I have my glove clutching a softball under an antique desk. I will always hold my memories of the game and the comradely dear to my heart. Carla J Mattingly

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  20. Well written. I’m a parent of a boy who played baseball and he has given up the game. I miss it already and one day when he’s older he’ll realize what he walked away from. I found you through Kelly K., my co-worker and recent FB friend. It’s nice to meet you.

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  21. I really loved reading your article. I love the “for today” part. I feel like that is the most important message that anyone can get out of reading this. Play every game like it is your last. You never know when it will be your last. Have no regrets. Don’t say, I would dive for that ball in the game, or I will run harder next time, or I shouldn’t have swung at that pitch.
    Now I would like to tell you what it feels like from the other side. The “Parent” side. 🙂 My daughter played for 15 years and graduated from college last year. She played just like you, every summer, spring and fall. Practiced more hours than any of us care to remember. Traveled all over the United States, all because of softball. I remember one summer, she played in a tournament every single weekend except one. The thing I remember most about that Summer was the one weekend that she had off. We didn’t know what to do. She went to the beach, hung out with her friends on Saturday, then on Sunday, she wanted to go hit. That is just how it works. Softball consumes you to make you a better athlete, competitor, person and friend. There are so many memories in our lives because of softball. Most of them good. When it is all over, you mostly remember the good stuff, which is another blessing of softball. You don’t remember the times you struck out with bases loaded, you remember the grand slam you hit. You don’t remember the weak ground balls you hit to second base, you remember the laser you hit off the fence. You don’t remember the ground ball that went between your legs, you remember the diving stop you made at third and got up and threw the batter out. I coached my daughter on and off throughout her career but I always wanted her to be herself and be coached by other people so she could just be a softball player not the coach’s daughter. I am not an emotional guy, I didn’t cry at Senior day in high school because I knew there was more. I didn’t cry when they lost their last high school game because I knew there was more. I didn’t cry at signing day because I knew she felt slighted in the recruiting process. But I will tell you when I did cry… when I dropped her off at college. Not immediately. Not when she was around. But as I was driving away from the school and onto the Interstate after I said goodbye. A flood of emotions just overtook my body. I cried like a baby. It was an amazing feeling. I knew that she had accomplished what she set out to accomplish. She was going to play D1 softball and I was proud. I was proud of her and everything she had done, but I was most proud that we as parents instilled the value of education in her and she fought her entire life to make that happen. She played 4 years of college softball. A starter since half way through her freshman year. So many awesome memories, trips, teammates and friends. We traveled to many of her games. Many days of missed work, many days of getting home late and then working the next morning. Most of our “Vacation” days spent traveling to and from softball games. And I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything else. So her softball career was winding down and her team was battling for the last playoff spot in their conference and a couple weeks before we sat down at dinner and well, talked about softball. I had analyzed the conference standings and let her know that basically her team need to win 2 games against one of the best teams in the league to secure a spot in the conference tournament. And the most awesome thing ever happened. She refused to lose. She didn’t take an at-bat off. She didn’t wish she made a play and she didn’t wish she got a hit. She did those things. She finished the weekend series 7 for 11 with 2 game winning hits. They won those 2 games and they made the conference tournament. So, I didn’t cry at Senior Day although it was close, I didn’t cry when they lost the first game of the conference tournament. I didn’t even cry when they lost the 2nd game of the conference tournament and the season was over. Over, it was done. That was the last game. That was it. That was the end of her softball career and I stood there watching. She was sad. I am not sure if she was sad they lost or if she was sad that their season was over, but it wasn’t much sadness. It was time. Time for it all to end. Time for there to be a life other than softball. So, just to let everyone know that reads this, there is life after softball, no matter how it ends, there is life. I will let you know that there was another day that I cried… The day that she walked across the stage to receive her diploma.

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  22. Thanks for this blog. I wear my glove again during my current years of coaching my kids and their friends. But one day I will hang my glove again. – At least till the day my grandchildren come to play. I love baseball and everything in between the lines.

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  23. This made me tear up 😥 …I thought I would still be playing softball way into my old age (lol) but that stopped 10 yrs ago with a back injury.
    It’s true…one day this won’t be your life anymore but when you get to choose to make that decision I feel it’s a crossroad in life you have come to….when life chooses it for you…it’s just harder to accept 😦
    I played for 33 yrs and started at 13 and my Mom had to drive me to the next town because our town was so small we didn’t have a team.
    I loved the game so much but miss it even more!

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    • Thank you so much for this!!! I actually found that odyssey article and message the author on Facebook asking her to take it down because it was completely plagiarized… No response. Not sure what else to do but it sucks that someone would think it was okay!

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  24. I cry every time I read this. I remember my last game vividly. I started at the field and the sky and took it all in one last time. Thank you for the reminder.

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  25. My Daughter has played since kindergarten. She’s now 32 and still chasing the ball…as an outstanding high school player, I always wondered what it will be like when she finally hangs up her glove? Playing all these years with an autoimmune disease (multiple connective tissue disorder, vasculitis and lupus) and the toll it has taken on her body. This year for the first time in her life, she has given up playing out the season with 2 of the 3 teams she plays on….she still plans on playing forever, but how long is that? I don’t see that day coming anytime soon. It’s in her blood. Great article!

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