This is the next chapter in the story of a girl who is determined to win.
Sporty had a really rough winter. She tried out for a competitive 3rd/4th grade team the weekend before her latest tendon transfer. The league coaches pulled my husband aside, told him she was a solid player, that she for sure would make one of the developmental teams as a 2nd grader. Then she had surgery. The pain blindsided us, it was way worse than the first time, we couldn’t get medicine right, we couldn’t stay ahead of the pain, it was awful. She screamed in agony that her foot hurt so bad it felt like someone drilled a hole through it (which he actually did). She had to stay out of school longer than she wanted (remember when you were 8 and you actually wanted to go to school???), when she went back she was frustrated by her lack of mobility. She was frustrated that she couldn’t run and play with her friends even though most of them stuck by her side for the month that she couldn’t walk. Then the draft for the 3rd/4th grade league came and Sporty didn’t get picked to play up. She was devastated. I told her it was ok, it would give her a chance to recover. Everything happens for a reason and maybe this was our sign she wasn’t recovered yet and needed time. Yet, understandably, she was disappointed. The regular season started and she played on an awesome team, but she’s Sporty and she goes full speed and she wants to be competitive and challenged, she wants to be pitched to by her peers and the division she played in was still coach pitch and they didn’t keep score (though we all know the girls keep score and know their wins and losses). She pushed herself too hard at practice running the bases so her foot started to hurt a few weeks after coming out of her AFO. She was really down for a long time, something we’ve never seen in our happy, go-lucky Sporty. So much to her disapproval, she was placed back in her AFO, at least she can play in an AFO. A cast she could not. She spent most of the regular season playing ball in her AFO. She didn’t want to be the only player not in cleats, so I got creative and modified her cleats (I also bought her new Under Armour cleats at the beginning of the season because they run wider than Nike or some other brands, just in case I needed to be creative clubfoot mom with them) to accommodate her AFO because where there’s a will, I will always make a way for her.
As she went through recovery Sporty told me that she wanted to play as much softball as she possibly could. Whatever the league, team, program, she wanted to do it. She wants to get a scholarship for college to play softball. That’s her goal.
As the season ended we found out about two opportunities for Sporty to continue playing for the summer. Sunday was tryouts for both opportunities. I tried to talk her out of the second tryout, we had had a busy weekend and it was 95 degrees out and I didn’t feel like it was healthy to have her out there for 4 hours trying out for teams, she’s only 8, she doesn’t need that pressure yet. But she begged me, see this particular tryout was for a U8 Traveling softball team, and she really wants to play competitively and participate in tournaments this summer. So I let her with the promise that she would drink lots of water and Gatorade and make sure she stayed hydrated.
It was hard to tell how the tryout was going. She seemed to be doing well, she caught all of her fly balls, she got all of her grounders (see pic below) and her throws were spot on. She hit well off of the machine (which she is not used to) but there were some really good girls out there. 18 girls tried out for 12 spots so the odds were good but still you never know how these things work. I didn’t want to see her disappointed again too, it was a rough year and I didn’t know how she’d take the disappointment.
Wednesday we got this email from the coach:
“…stood out so much there is no question that we would love to have them on the team.”
My Sporty! I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was so excited for her. See I didn’t make my first travel summer team until I was like 14 or 15, so for Sporty to make it at 8 is unbelievable. U8 is the youngest travel team that we are aware of so we’re so flattered that she was among the few girls that without a question the coaches wanted on the team.
This is a story of a girl, who has had three foot surgeries in 8 years, who wears an AFO with pride and dignity, who never quits, even when it gets hard, this story continues.
This is a girl who goes after her dreams, even after disappointment. A girl who I couldn’t be more proud of.
If you dream it, it can happen…