Most of you know that softball has consumed most of our summer in one way or another. While I love watching the people I love play…this last expedition proved to be the “icing” that capped off this softball cake. The regional tournament was held in Cairo Montenotte, Italy this year. It was about a nine hour drive (a hot, yet beautiful drive). We ventured south through Germany, into Switzerland (my fave new place) and across the north side of Italy to reach the west coast district of Savona. We stayed at Villa Eugenia (a B&B) tucked away in a mountain and was hellatious to drive to, but it couldn’t have been more perfect. Simona (the house mother), welcomed us right away with hugs, food (gotta love an Italian woman that wants to feed you), and a tour all while holding Teage’s hand. She was one of the nicest people we had encountered in a long time and will definitely be staying there if we go back next year.
The softball. Saige was so excited to be on this adventure and we were equally happy for her. She has only been playing softball competitively since we moved here (sorry, but the youth sports teams in Okinawa, was NOT real softball). We were expecting a lot out of this league and tournament for her as an experience. I think the excitement was so overwhelming for all the girls that it rattled the team a bit…and we lost our first game. The nervousness had to have been strong…I was nervous for them! But, the main objective was to have fun and play ball. Those two things should have been all that mattered…and Saige ran with it.
Speaking of Saige…we have gone through a lot with her with this whole “growing up/becoming a teenager” thing. There have been personal tests, bad decisions, good choices, hard work, wavering independence, and strong personality lessons that have been learned/taught in the past couple years. No child is going to go through life knowing all the right moves…but, I am a firm believer that if you raise your kids to have manners, a level head, a fun & loving spirit, and responsibility than you have tackled half the battles. Saige has made a few mistakes in her journey to become a young lady, but more than those mistakes she always manages to show me what she has carried with her all along…humility and a truly, caring heart. This week was no exception. The girls were compacted into 2-man rooms on a baseball camp compound over the course of six days while we were in Italy. Can you imagine 13 teenage girls hugged up in one small space with 100 degree weather? This was a recipe for bad mojo. By day three, there were girls calling each other out on their mistakes in the game, name calling, whining, meltdowns, cliques, and even cursing. I don’t know exactly all that went down (since the girls were not staying with their parents), but, what I do know is that I was not worried about Saige. My baby is a leader…thick-skinned and is also genuinely NICE! I was proud she didn’t get involved into being catty and instead tried to dodge the drama and make people feel better. She is not perfect, but she is who she is….and I have always known how incredible she is in her heart. (sniff sniff, LOL)
Besides all the drama that I wished had never happened with the girls….they played as best they could and I couldn’t have asked for more than that. They did not advance to the World Series, but they are champs in my book. They went there with only one game played under their belt and about three weeks of practice. They did their best and that is what mattered.
I want to say a big thank you to the coaches that stepped up and VOLUNTEERED their time and their wallets to make this happen for Saige & the rest of he girls. Without them they would have never made it to Italy in the first place. Coaching is a tough job all around…dealing with young girls’ hearts and attitude, in-the-mix parents, out-of-the-mix parents, dealing with other coaches, gathering information, fronting the costs when others can’t…the list goes on. While everyone has their way of coaching (aka-“I would have done this…”), it’s always easier to holla from the sidelines. I appreciate them for giving the kids the time and for caring.
I think that pretty much sums up my take on the past week’s events. The moral of this story is…”With great commitment comes great achievement!” I think Saige achieved a lot over this past year in softball and I look forward to seeing her grow in play for years to come….
Some pics of our time there…
Thanks for joining us in the journey…