I played baseball as a kid. I was a middle of the road player on my team and hitting never really came to me. I hadn't touched a bat since I was 13 years old. So there I was, in my early 30's, and a coworker put a team together and asked if I was playing. I gave it a shot to have some fun with the people I saw for 50 plus hours a week and enjoy some time outside of work.
I joined that team and this is how it went. I would be up there at bat swinging and missing or watching called third strikes. When I did make contact, I didn't hit well at all. But you know what? There was something about being out there that just felt right. It was fun, and it was something I really enjoyed.
Playing softball has impacted my life in so many ways. The biggest thing it did was build my self-confidence and allow me to be ME. I grew up with buck teeth, big ears, and was never part of the popular group. This followed me all through school and beyond. I was the shy guy at a party, never one to start a conversation, and often felt inferior to many of those around me.
That's where softball comes in. After my first team dissolved I found myself playing with people I had met through softball I even joined a team as a free agent. That was a huge first step because the old me would NEVER have been able to do that. But there I was, making new friends and having a great time! The team I joined wasn’t all that good but I was part of a group, showing up every week, and we were having a great time.
Fast forward to where I am today. I have friends all across the country that I have met from softball and specifically because of LoLo Crew Unlimited. My first draft tournament team is still a group of people that I talk to regularly and they are always there to support me. I have made so many new friends thanks to softball, many of whom have become close friends of mine, and some of whom I consider family. Many of them have shown more support for me recently than some friends that I have known for years. That shows you the type of people that come together in the softball community and for LoLo Crew. Through connections I have made from being a part of “The Crew” I have even turned a complete stranger into my go-to person when I am feeling down or have chaos going on in my life that I need to vent about. Luckily I have been able to return that favor in the same way for them.
On top of becoming part of the softball community, I have taken strides to become a better player. I am no longer the guy that strikes out all the time, I’m still learning things about hand placement on the bat and batting stance, and I will swing at a pitch that in the past I would’ve watched drop in for a strike.
I’ve have made plenty of changes to my game but the real change is within myself. I have evolved into a completely different person. The “old me” is gone and the real me has emerged. The person that was always in there now has the confidence to be free. People that meet me now do not believe me that I used to be shy. I was never shy. I was just lacking confidence and worried what others might think of me or how they would judge me. Now I am proud of the man I have become, I am confident in the person that I am, my personality has come out in full force, and I'm Extra AF but ya know what? That's the person I always was and I love living my life just being myself.
When I step onto that field all the chaos of my daily life just fades away. A lot of ball players can attest to that. There is just something about getting out there, putting your glove on, picking up the bat, being a base coach, or watching from the bench. When it's game time I'm living in the moment, rooting my teammates on, and having the time of my life (maybe with a beer or two).
I wouldn't be who I am today without it and I am so happy to have found LoLo Crew Unlimited to help me expand my love of the game and build relationships with others.
I am proud to be a member of "The Crew" for life!