Many of you may already know that my mother-in-law passed away early in March. It was something that I have since spent a lot of time reflecting on. It really got me thinking about the word, “Legacy.”

A legacy is something that is handed down from one generation to the next. I think that it often refers to material or financial things, but I am referring to a legacy of a different sort. To me, a legacy has more to do with how you affect those around you and how that is then passed on to the people whom they affect. It can be a gorgeous ripple affect or a negative one. From my perspective, legacy is the mark you leave on the world. My dad phrases it this way: “did you leave the world a better place than when you found it?”

Our lives can truly be elevated to another level if we think about this question from the perspective of our future selves. When it comes to softball, even as you begin your journey with a team, ask yourself if you will be able to confidently know that the team will be better for your presence. This should be true not just in the sense of the team fielding average going up or the team ERA going down. Those are all positive things. However, there are things that are of equal (and perhaps even greater) importance. For example, do you know how to support your teammates? Are you willing to sacrifice extra hours of time in practice on your own so that your team has a greater chance of succeeding? Are you willing to let a disagreement with another team member dissolve so that it doesn’t affect the rest of the team negatively? Know that you have the opportunity to make a positive impact in ways that you might not necessarily envision originally. No positive action is too small to create lasting impression and no negative action is too small to go without creating lasting damage.

I have been listening to a few good sermons lately, and I think that something that stood out in the preacher’s message was about how we often tend to live our lives for ourselves. With a team, of course, that shouldn’t be the case. We should all be helping each other. We should have the best interests of our coaches and teammates in our hearts at all times.

But we also have to be realistic .

We are human. We make mistakes. Mistakes aren’t bad as long as you grow from them. Mistakes are often HOW we grow. Realistically though, I think it’s important to think about our legacy as a reference point from which we build our lives every day.

As part of my legacy, I want to create as many empowered woman as possible. I want to give these women the tools not just to succeed in the pitcher’s circle, but also to succeed in life. Having this in mind as my legacy also makes it so that I get less caught up in discussions about who “the best” pitching coach is and some of the other drama that can come along with our sport. The truth is, it doesn’t matter to me. Since no two athletes are ever identical, they should not be coached identically. Hence, the BEST coach for one particular player might NOT be the best coach for another player. What matters is if YOU are comfortable and making consistent progress from the tutelage I provide. Hopefully one day you will go on to teach others in the caring manner I taught you. This would truly be a wonderful legacy.

So today I am asking a really deep question: what do you intend for your legacy to be? What are some action steps you can take to accomplish that? Share this piece with your coaches and teammates so you can hopefully build a team legacy for years to come.

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