As many volunteers discover, when you are passionate about something it shows in the way you approach your work in that realm. Softball has been my passion for most of my life. It taught me many important lessons in life, some more difficult than others, and I am lucky to have had so many opportunities to play ball.
Last Fall some volunteers in Lutsk invited me to help them with a softball clinic, specifically with pitching. I was excited for the chance, though weary after a negative softball experience last summer which involved young men with big egos, coaches with limited baseball knowledge who liked to argue, and little girls getting yelled at for striking out. This experience was completely different and restored my hope for Ukrainian girls learning softball.
I met many bright, motivated girls who were not afraid to try something new. Softball is not easy, and there are a lot of points which we take for granted (like which direction to run after hitting the ball, which hand the glove goes on, etc). Underhand fastpitch requires a lot of patience and practice, yet these girls were determined to listen to what I had to offer and try their best to improve.
I thank the volunteers in this area who have tirelessly created a softball league from scratch, who even wrote a grant to build the region's first softball field. They have created a positive environment for these girls to learn important lessons like teamwork and perserverence, and have created the opportunity for them to participate in a productive activity during their abundant free time.
Here are some photos of me passing along my love for softball, which my parents encouraged by enduring endless travelling tournaments, scraped knees and tears of frustration, and hours on uncomfortable bleachers. Play Ball!