How does an Amarillo softball team with a record of 0-89 not only get invited to a showcase tournament and clinic in Las Vegas, NV, but also become the belles of the event, drawing spectators and getting recognized like celebrities on the Vegas strip?
It all started last year when The Children's Home hosted a softball tournament. One of the teams we invited encouraged a Las Vegas tournament to ask our team out. We worked and were able to raise the money to go. As our girls practiced at the tournament, they were on the field missing balls but still laughing and having a good time. Their lightheartedness and joy began to draw a crowd - intriguing the other teams and coaches. Our girls grabbed their hearts, reminding them of when they had first started playing - when it was still fun and they were still learning.
Afterwards, we were invited to the clinic and showcase coming up. We hoped to go, but just didn't have the money. A month out, a coach of one of the Las Vegas teams called to see if we were coming - a lot of his girls had been asking. When we let him know it wasn't in our budget, he asked if he could help and if he could invite other teams to be a part. By the next morning, they were all on board. In 2 weeks, they had gathered the money to get us there, and the Nevada NSSSA commissioner waived the entry fee and got our hotel rooms comped. It was God at work all the way.
It blows people away to see our girls out on the field having fun, still fighting for their first win but overcoming defeat with a happy face. Our girls realize they probably won't win many games, but they've learned if they play hard, they earn the satisfaction of being a team and doing their best. One coach told us, "We play top-ranked teams who get behind and just give up. Ya'll stick it out. That's something to be proud of. We respect that. Keep it up, and you'll get somewhere in life."
The teams and coaches who watch us are amazed by how our girls treat each other - how they compromise with each other and encourage each other. We've really worked with our girls about putting each other first... about humility - not thinking less of themselves, but thinking of themselves less. It helps to have such support from the administration and other adults on campus. The kids see every adult here believes in what we're teaching them... and best of all, they're beginning to see every adult here loves and values them - win or lose.
from an interview with coach and Family Teacher Michale Simonson