At The Plate

(Image via Discover Counseling Network)

(Image via Discover Counseling Network)

Hailey Yon, Writer

Anxiety. It sucks. It gets in the way of living my everyday life, whether I’m just sitting in class, taking a test, or playing sports. Anxiety makes me feel shaky and jittery. My heart just starts racing and it makes me feel like I can’t focus. I have learned to cope with it by taking deep breaths and drinking water, it helps me out a lot. I started noticing my anxiety when playing for my high school softball team. Playing softball for as long as I have been, I feel that it just puts a lot of pressure on me for making it on varsity my freshman year. Thoughts like, if I make one mistake I will disappoint everyone, or there are a lot of people watching and if I mess up then people will laugh at me, went through my head constantly and I just couldn’t help it.

I grew up playing softball. It has always been one of my favorite sports to play. Yes, I have had thoughts about not playing at times, but I always thought to myself, “don’t give up.” I started off playing tee ball, but I don’t remember much of it. Then I faced playing off a pitching machine instead of a real pitcher, and that’s when my dad coached me. Later on, I began to play for a rec team and my dad was no longer the coach. I had to deal with the coach favoring the girls and I didn’t get much playing time, and that was a time when I started to have thoughts about not playing softball. Later on, my dad started looking into finding me a club team to play with. He soon found this team called Red Heat and that is the team I still happen to be playing with, and I couldn’t be happier. I could never have guessed that anxiety would begin to affect me while I was doing something that made me so happy.  

There was one game where my anxiety hit me hard. At the time, we weren’t playing league games but I still played like I needed to. On April 8, we played against Sandy. It turned out to be a pretty good game. During the bottom of the seventh inning, we were tied 4-4 and we all really wanted to win this game. As I was standing on deck timing the pitcher, I just kept thinking about everything that could go wrong like what if I strike out looking or what if I swing at the third strike. I was just getting all in my head. I soon was standing with one foot in the batter’s box, looking at my coach as she was giving me the signs. She told me to just hit. I started thinking about the situation and told myself okay, there are two outs and there are runners on second and third base. The outfielders are playing a little shallow so it would be a good idea to hit it past them. Then I turned, putting my other foot in the box and got in the stance I felt most comfortable in. The pitcher waits for the catcher to give her the sign on what to throw and then walks onto the mound. I started shaking. Then she starts her wind up and BOOM, ball one. Too high. Soon she starts her wind up again and then BAM — out to the deep right field. The runner on third scores. Then the runner on second scores and I am now on third. My teammates run out of the dugout happy as can be. And at that moment I had a breath of relief and my anxiety started to ease away.

The softball season is slowly coming to an end and we are going through the last round of our league games. I slowly learned how to manage my anxiety and it has helped me a lot during our games. It took me a while, but I have learned not to worry about who’s watching and to only worry about what’s going on in the game. Anxiety gets the best of a lot of people but we can all get through it!