I was lying on the couch reading a book about coaching when I came across this phrase that kind of stuck with me. It was something along the lines of, “mistakes are the stepping stones to achievements.” It’s such a small phrase, but holds big meaning behind it. One that can apply to both sports and life. Since it was a book about coaching it made me think about softball, the girls I coach, and my playing career. In softball, mistakes lead to errors. Which brings me to reflecting on my years of playing.
Although there are many softball games that I cherish in my memory, there are two specific ones that I often look back on. So much so that I actually have the article and stats of those games printed out. One being a game that some may say is the best game I’ve ever pitch; the other is the last game I ever pitch. Both are very important to me, but their outcomes are complete opposite of each other. One led to a victory, while the other led to my career ending. However, the only one I want to focus on is the last game I ever played. So, let me just set the scene up for you:
It’s conference tournament, only us and two other teams are left. Only a few games away from winning the championship. It’s the bottom of the 12th, the other team has a runner on third, and there is only 1 out. I’m on the mound putting my heart into every pitch, like I have the whole game. Lefty slapper up to bat, hit, hard grounder to 2nd, error, runner scores, game over. Us: 4 runs, 9 hits, 6 errors. Them: 5 runs, 9 hits, 3 errors. Now, a lot of you could have predicted the outcome without me explaining the details just based on those ending stats. Which gets to my point…
Those errors led to that loss. It happens, that’s life and I think it could make a good point to the girls I coach for a couple of reasons. First being an athlete’s reaction when a teammate makes a mistake or error. After my teammate had made that error and the run scored, I didn’t get mad at her and blame her for her mistake. Because it wasn’t all her fault we had lost, and everyone’s made an error before. Heck, there were 5 others made just in that game. Which gets me to the next point. Without those mistakes and errors how will we learn and grow to get better? If you’re going to make a mistake wouldn’t you much rather make one knowing you were giving it your all? I mean you’re more likely to make a mistake if you constantly worrying about making a mistake.
Oddly enough, I think that game is the best game I’ve ever pitched. I don’t look back on that game and see that we lost. I look at that game and see that I went all out and left everything on that field. I gave it my all, knowing that even though it could be the last game I play, I wasn’t going to be scared to make a mistake. Making the outcome of the score unimportant when reflecting back, and the experience memorable. If only you knew what the other game I had mentioned earlier was. Then you would question my thoughts on my best game. But that’s a story for another time and another blog. Until then, go all out in everything you do and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.