Monday, May 28, 2012

Super Nova

Happy Memorial Day. It's been a big weekend. Mam's travel softball team played in their first tournament...after a whole five practices. And holy cow was Mam excited! She was jazzed to play with her new team, thrilled with her new uniform, even happy to have a ponytail put in her hair, now that she's got the official ribbons to match her uniform.
This is the first time she's had a shirt with her name on it, so that's pretty cool too. And there's something about having your sweet little girl, out there with her last name emblazoned across her back and the mean-looking black and red that's just...well...kinda cool. She never has been a girly girl and now it's official.
It was already obvious that travel softball is very different from travel baseball. But the differences become huge when you're in the middle of it all. First of all, you've got girls instead of boys, so you can do things like this before the game:
Boys don't really sit still for that sort of thing, but I've noticed that the Nova coaches pull the girls aside as a group for talks all the time...during practice, before games, after games, whenever.

And then there's this:

If you've only been to a baseball tournament, you'd never know what this is. This is the whole team, doing their customized Nova cheer, which they do before each game. It's got simple choreography and totally gets the girls fired up to play every time. They have lots of other cheers they do during the game too. During the season, I admit they kind of annoyed me. At tournaments, it's actually kinda fun.
Why yes. Yes, Mam is wearing mismatched red and one black. They were issued two pairs of socks to go with their uniforms and were asked to wear red socks for their first game Saturday. Once they had won their first tournament game, they were to wear one black and one red. The first game went well. The second game, at 6pm on Saturday, went well too. This picture is from the third game, where they'd changed to their black jerseys.

The third game was at 8am on Sunday...requiring Mam and me to leave the house at 6:45 to get there at 7:15 for warm-ups. They played a really challenging opponent to whom they lost by a single run. Mam played super well, getting two hits, one run, one RBI and an out at second base. I was so proud of her. As the youngest player on the team, it's nice to see her making some great plays, even if she's not the best player on the team.

The other thing about softball is that the coaches and manager care about building team spirit, about the girls forming friendships, about the parents getting to know each other. Novel. I know. In that vein, they arranged to have lunch for the girls between games. Since our games were far apart on Saturday, we all went home, but Sunday, they decided to put on 9:30 in the morning.

I didn't think much of it until the girls ate and started to play. They were all playing together like they were best of friends. Mam knew none of these girls before joining the Nova team, but didn't hesitate to put on a clinic in tree climbing...

and when it came to a rousing game of How-Many-Nova-Players-Fit-On-A-Tiny-Tire, Mam was right there in the mix with all the other girls.
These girls and their parents are great. They're nice, they play with heart, they speak all different languages and yet, they're a team...a team where the girls really enjoy each other.

So, when the Nova lost in the first round of bracket play...KO'd by some incredible 9-year-old fastpitch pitching, they were tired, but still enthusiastic.

I wasn't sure about this whole travel softball thing, but I'm sure now. This is going to be great.

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