The following spring, my parents enrolled me into the city's rec league for slow-pitch softball for 8-10 year olds. I was kind of disappointed, actually, because I wanted to play baseball like a boy. Such a tomboy to the core, I wanted to do everything the boys could do (and more). But alas, I played slow-pitch softball with the girls. However, I soon fell in love with the sport and my position, catcher. I loved being able to see everyone on the field and feeling in charge. My first team wasn't all-star, but I was. I was selected to be on the all-star team my very first year, and our team went all the way to the state tournament, finishing third.
When I was 10-years-old, I was introduced to fast-pitch softball by the Auburn Tigers softball team. My brother was considering school there, so our family made the trip to check it out and caught a game. So fast, so strong, and the catcher was like the quarterback--she called the shots. I was mesmerized and intrigued. I wanted that to be me.
Not long after, our local high school switched from slow-pitch to fast-pitch, and I attended their summer camp. The catchers had a special part of the camp that involved intense "up-downs" that made my legs feel like they were going to fall off (up-down: start in the squating position and turn 90 degrees, standing up as fast as you can). But I learned the quicker you're "up", the sooner a runner stealing second was "down". My favorite moments from those early games were when I caught the fastest runner stealing 2nd base. And even though I was small (barely reaching 5'2" here), I guarded home plate like it was my first born child. I soon got the nickname "Jericho", because only God could bring my wall down. It was my place, and I loved it.
Fast-forward to 8th grade: try-outs for the high school team. So freakin' nervous. I did great at the try-out. I passed everyone in the mile run, surprising even myself. I caught well, I batted well, I even made a dive for a pop-up right in front of home plate. So why was I so nervous? Ummm, because my name is Holly, and that's what I do. I remember waiting in my last class before the bell rang, they were going to post the names outside of the office. "Are you going straight there?" my friend and fellow teammate whispered. "Yeah, I just wanna know." The bell rang, and roughly 20 girls rushed the office walls like kids after an ice cream truck. Some were crushed, others rejoicing, including me and several of my teammates from my all-star team. Five years together, and still teammates.
Two years at JV, two years on Varsity, and one lettered jacket to show for it. High school was awesome, displaying my hometown name across my chest. I gained more responsibility at catcher, too, calling pitches for the girl staring back at me. Nothing made me prouder than strapping on my pads and putting on my hockey helmet, complete with a wildcat print.
Sportin' the letter
All geared up
Sleeves . . .
No sleeves (and arm muscle)!
I decided to give up playing full-time when I got to college. I was ready to just be a student. But I still love it. I play for my company's team with games about once a week. I'm not playing catcher, anymore, either. Apparently, I'm more useful screaming my head off from 2nd base.
What does this pre-diabetes life post have to do with diabetes? Ratios (don't worry, this isn't a math lesson). I played softball full-time for 10 years before toning it down, that's 40% of my life. I've been diabetic for 3 1/2 years, 14% of my life. Right now, softball still outweighs my time with D. But I know there will come a time when that ratio will be matched, and reversed. Some days with D are like getting ready for a game. I gotta gear up, get ready for the hits, and (most importantly) call the shots!
A lot of times you will hear sports announcers say "That team beat themselves," meaning they let the game get out of hand. Too many errors or not enough hits. Life with D is a lot like that. Too many errors (forgetting to bolus) or not enough hits (not exercising) can cause us to feel like we're letting D win. I look back on my life with softball and remember how in charge I was. I hate this disease and how it tries to beat me down. But I'm the catcher. I call the pitches and tell everyone where to be. And when an amazon (diazon?) is barelling down from 3rd base and knocks me over, I'll still hold up the ball and say, "Not this time."