Quick Hits

Quick Reads - Brief Softball Articles

Hayley CruthersEvery softball player of all ages has "stuff" they need to fix.  Whether they need to work on charging the ball, removing the dip in their swing or throwing a more consistent change-up, winter is the best time to fix those things (a.k.a. the off-season).  It is during this time that players who really go to work on improving their skills make the most progress.  They're the girls who show up in the spring surprising their school teammates, coaches and other parents. 

When they first learn new mechanics, it isn't always pretty.  They must be willing to fail, stick with it and not revert back into their old habits.

Read more: Fixing Stuff - It's What Winter's For

ring me hayA year ago the 2013 Mid American Conference (MAC) regular season champion Ball State softball team received their rings at halftime of the homecoming football game.  My daughter and her freshman teammates stood by and watched, since they were not members of the 2013 team.  I was not able to attend the team tailgate/cookout/ceremony, but she sent me a picture of her and a teammate with her ring.  She said, "I want one of those."

Read more: It Will Always Be About The Journey

Dad Support Group - Softball JourneyShe starts out as your baby girl.  Mom does her best to make her a little ballerina.  Instead, she becomes a Tom Boy playing more with the boys than the girls.  It is clear she's an athlete as she dominates other girls her age in various sports.  You get home from work finding her waiting for you to play catch or pitch to her.  She watches the ball games with you and becomes a fan of your favorite teams.  She's the boy you never had and/or the daughter who saved you from dance recitals.  And then one day it all begins to change.

Hot Tip #1 - Anything you say or do can and will be used against you forevermore.

Read more: Your Daughter Moves to the Dark Side: Help for Dads

No Joy in MudvilleFall ball is upon us!  Many of the newly formed travel teams are practicing and playing together for the first time.  There's usually great anticipation and hope for success by the players and teams.  Coaches, players and parents will be getting a preview of what's to come.  The first couple of practices entail players getting to know each other and their coaches, while parents do the same.  Just when it seems that "All is well in Mudville," in creeps the doubt.

(Photo from imdb.com)

Read more: Pushing the Panic Button

One year ago I launched the Softball Journey website with a mission to help parents through the Softball Journey, from the youth recreational leagues to school ball to college.  Since then I have written 52 articles and have received a lot of positive feedback.  It's exciting looking at the little "Who's Online" box in the right column and seeing over 300 people on the site at times. 

It's also very humbling knowing that the messages of some articles connected with people enough to be read over 30,000 times like, The Day I Quit Cheering for my Daughter and I Looked Down the Bench - The Whole Team was Crying.  Those articles have also been shared numerous times on Facebook and Twitter with people from coast to coast following Softball Journey.  

I've been told, "Man. You've totally changed my perspective and my mentality when I'm at a game.  I see things so differently now."  People have thanked me and encouraged me to continue my mission.  And one of the most touching comments was, "I couldn't stop crying after reading that article." 

I just wanted to thank all of you for reading and sharing these articles in the past year.  My goal is to continue writing one article per week.  As a varsity and travel softball coach and parent of a college softball player, there's no shortage of topics to choose from.  I will be also starting a newsletter in the near future, since many of you aren't into social media. 

And as for that book I swore I would write.  Well, in the past year I've started, scrapped and restarted the book 3 times.  I'm on version 4 now, so it's good that I learned a long time ago to lighten up and laugh at myself.  It's like my dad says, "If you're going to do something, do it right!"  And I do believe the current version of the book is just that. 

The whole process of writing articles, working on the book, Facebook & Twitter posts and coaching really makes me think deeply not only about softball, but life.  I've said before, "Softball is a game and game's are meant to be fun."  Should not the same be true for life?

Thanks again everybody!  Have a great 2014-2015 Softball Journey!


Greg Cruthers

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