To The Unofficial Team Captain

Dear Number Eleven,

My daughter was nervous about moving up to a softball team in a older league in which she’d be one of the youngest players. She had to adapt to some new rules, a larger ball and different coaches.

Grant it, fall ball is not nearly as competitive as it is in the spring and this was the perfect opportunity to ease into a new league, but she was still jittery.

Then she met you.

You’re a veteran who’s been playing at this level for a few seasons, and you were a shining role model and leader this season for my kid and the other younger players.

Throughout the season, at every practice and game, you’ve been the team’s heart: the fiercest leader, its loudest cheerleader, the kindest and most patient friend. You’ve played any position asked–catcher, pitcher, infielder, outfielder–without complaint. You’ve been just as encouraging in an inning that dragged on for 30 minutes before ending on the mercy rule as you have when it took only seven pitches to get three outs.

You’re one of the best players on the team but you’ve never showed off, argued with an ump or coach or disparaged another teammate when she’s made a mistake. I’ve never even seen you in a bad mood, and the doubleheaders you play can take up to three hours. It’s enough to drain the energy out of anyone, but not you.

I told you an abbreviated version of the above after the game today, mostly because it’s what we have been talking about on the sidelines during the season. I hope I didn’t freak you out or make you feel uncomfortable, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciated you.

I would have told your folks, but I’ve never seen them. You always come to games and practices with a friend from the team. I don’t know your situation; it’s none of my business. But please know the rest of the team parents think the world of you, and we hope to see you in the spring.


Number Fourteen’s Mom

To The Unofficial Team Captain

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