When I was eleven years old, my dream was to become the next Angela Tincher. Taking pitching lessons over and over because so many people saw that greatness in me, one of the biggest fans being my father. Even though I was as tiny as a toothpick, I didn’t let it hold me back because my passion for softball was incredible and I wanted to make everyone proud.
At fourteen, my passion for pitching moved to playing short-stop from a mistake on someone else’s part. You never know when your chance to shine will come, but when it does, you take it. As a freshman, by our starting short-stop forgetting her glove, I then from every game on out started each game and earned it. I claimed the position for that single game, but I had to work every moment after that game to prove that it was the right move to make me the starting short-stop because all of those years of playing travel had finally paid off.
When I pictured my future at fifteen years old, I knew that playing softball in college was going to happen without question. It was a given, if someone asked me where I was going to college, I would say, “Well, wherever I play at.” I wanted to go to California or New York, I wanted to experience a different place and play the game I love.
When I was seventeen, I felt that passion for playing so badly in college, simply fade away. I wanted to become a nurse as my mother has been for over twenty-five years. It made me so excited to think that I could finally have conversations with my mom about everything she always knew how to fix and mend over the years. I wanted to know everything she knew. After hearing stories about some of my friends and former teammates playing in college and trying to do nursing, it just didn’t work out. Playing softball in college changed and they didn’t love it anymore. I did not want any of that to happen. I felt I had to choose. So I chose to only pursue, nursing.
At age nineteen, I had the opportunity to coach my old middle school’s softball team. The head coach, I mean I was so blown away that my old principal and coaches knew I would be amazing at that job. I couldn’t turn that down, no way. I traveled back and forth between the school I chose, Radford University, and my hometown, Roanoke. While taking nursing classes, I would leave right after and drive every day for either a practice or game. I loved using my knowledge of thirteen years of playing into teaching these young ladies the best way to play, to have fun with it. I had some amazing players on my team that were taking the same path that I took; offseason, practice, school ball, travel ball, offseason, offseason. It was a way of life. I wanted to show my girls that your attitude about softball made the experience all it could be. You had to have a positive and open attitude especially with the teammates you have. Not every teammate will have the same athletic ability as you, but that’s when you have to step up and lead them as a positive role model and not put them down. When I had to point out times of where I felt a player was being too mean or too forward about an error or something, I had to remind them the value of a team. One person on a softball field can’t win a game, you can’t have a pitcher without a catcher, you can’t have an out at first without a first baseman, you can’t catch a fly ball by the fence with just an infielder, you will need outfielders. They all needed each other whether they understood that in that moment or not, and as I was saying those things, I finally understand things that I never did while playing. Sometimes, it takes after you stop playing the game, to finally find that knowledge you always lingered to get. I taught myself in that moment that you can’t wait ‘til it’s too late. But unfortunately, some solutions to your answers aren’t found until later on in life.
At that moment, I wanted so badly to have played softball in college, I hated my decision I made, but I knew I had to follow through with nursing until I achieved it, otherwise my decision was for nothing.
At twenty, I found myself having to transfer schools and now commuting an hour from my apartment in Radford to downtown Roanoke for school. A fresh start seemed best. But sadly, I found myself even more lost than before. I finally realized, nursing just really may not be for me. It may not be what I will be doing for the rest of my life, like I imagined it. So I decided to take a turn.
When I turned twenty-one, after my true junior year, I decided to go back to Radford University, not back to nursing, but now toward a general biology major. Was I truly interested in working in labs, doing research projects, and talking about plants and animals? Honestly, not really. I don’t think that will ever be a passion of mine, but I soon learned that having a biology degree doesn’t mean it stops with a science job in that sense. It was brought to my attention that medical device sales was a promising career. It had a ring to it. I looked into what exactly that position was, it seemed like something I knew I would excel at. I have experience with working with different types of people from being a coach, to a waitress, to a merchandise seller. I knew what it took to make others feel special and how to reach people’s expectations. I knew that I had great leadership qualities, and I was a very hard-working person. I thought to myself, maybe this is what I will do for the rest of my life. But, how could anyone truly know that? What they will do for the rest of their life. I realized I had to start switching my thinking to an entire lifetime plan, to just maybe, alright let’s graduate first.
So, at age twenty-two, now, I understand that I will plan my life by small steps in order to reach a goal, because things change every day, and nothing is guaranteed anyway. So, I’ll start with passing these classes this semester, my fifth year due to my major switch, let me just get through these classes and land a spot on the Dean’s List. That seems like a great goal. I told myself, not to worry about the spring semester too much, or walking across the stage, or where I’ll be moving to after graduation. That can all change, especially that last part. There are 50 states, who knows which one will give me the dream opportunity I’ve always dreamed of. There’s no way of knowing that right at this moment in my life. So let’s focus on what’s right here and happening right now.
It’s true, you never know when your life will take a turn.