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Student Voices: Lessons I’ve Learned from Playing Softball

Posted by Zahra Jones on Jul 19, 2022 10:32:36 AM

I have been playing softball my whole life and it’s the only sport that I have stuck with while trying out new sports (trust me, I’ve tried a LOT of sports). I’m still not sure what drew me to softball. I don’t know if it was the high intelligence of the game, the people I played with, or the excessive amounts of gatorade that I drank during each game. Over time, I learned to balance softball’s intensity, highs and lows, and pressure. It is through those aspects where I learned lessons that have not just applied to sports, but to all areas of my life.

softball blog

There Really is No ‘I’ in Team

I know this phrase is thrown around constantly, but it really is true. Everyone on the field has a role that contributes to making the team better. Whether it’s making a double play, striking out a batter, or scoring a run, every action helps uplift and motivate the team. I’ve also learned that your attitude can affect the overall mood of the team. If you have a poor attitude, you will play poorly. If you have a positive attitude, you will play well. Once you start believing in yourself, you then genuinely believe in others, which will increase the confidence in yourself and your teammates. Sports are a team effort and that means everyone has a role to help contribute to the team’s success.

You Need to Fail Before You Succeed

Last summer during softball season, there was a period of time where I was not performing to the best of my ability. I’m a pitcher and I wasn’t pitching well, and I was in a hitting slump. I went up to the plate every at bat thinking I was just going to strike out. The negativity of my attitude became a weekly routine, so bad, to a point where I was surprised if I pitched well or got a hit. It was not until this summer where I realized the lesson that was teaching me. I worked really hard over the off season on my pitching and hitting because I was determined to be better than last season. I used my fear of failure to help me succeed. This summer, I have been performing really well. I am very happy with my progress and the confidence that I regained. Failing is a part of the process, and there will be times when you feel like it is the end-all-be-all. All you have to do is keep trying, believe in yourself, put in the work, and it will all come together. It’s not about where you start, it’s where you finish and how you got there that matters the most.

"Sports are a team effort, and one person’s success is a celebration for the whole team." - Zahra Jones '23


Every year, Oak Knoll sports teams create a slogan that goes on the back of a t-shirt for that season. I was talking to my pitching coach about possible slogan options, and she asked me if I had ever heard the term, “mudita.” Mudita is a Sanskrit term that translates to, ‘being genuinely happy for someone else's good fortune or success.’ There will be times when you wish you were starting a game, got the game-winning goal, or got to talk to a college coach, but it happened to your teammate instead. Through their successes, you can find joy and use that to motivate yourself. Being happy for your teammate will make them feel appreciated, and they will know their hard work paid off. One tournament, my friend had been in a hitting slump and she hit a home run at her next at-bat. I remember running to home plate with a huge smile on my face because I was incredibly happy for her. I know she felt really good in that moment, and she deserved to. Mudita is a term that I will never forget, because it applies to all aspects of life, not just sports. I think we can all learn to be happier for one another, rather than tearing each other down. Sports are a team effort, and one person’s success is a celebration for the whole team.

It is important to remember that everyone has different lessons to learn throughout their lifetime. Everyone is on a different path, and that is OK. We are all right where we are meant to be. I have grown and changed because of life lessons, and I will continue to grow as more lessons are needed for me to learn. I’m grateful to have a sport like softball to help me become a better person, sister, daughter, and friend. Through many ups and downs, softball has taught me to be patient, appreciative, and confident — three qualities that I will carry with me through the rest of my life.

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