Cathedral City, CA – You wouldn’t be wrong to say that you saw great softball at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic over the weekend. Watching some of the best NCAA teams the country like UCLA, Oklahoma, Kentucky was amazing. Athletes were making extraordinary plays all over the field.
No one would be surprised if your jaw dropped watching Monica Abbott throw pitches at blinding speed. Or that the professional players for the Scrapyard Dogs and Team Japan were so strong and skilled as they develop even more after college.
But the greatest thing about the tournament happened outside the foul lines. I sat there and watched families cheering on their daughters, granddaughters or nieces. They waited eagerly after the games to give them hugs and tell them how proud they were. The young ladies were off to college and times like these with family were cherished moments.
Parents chatted with their daughters’ old teammates. Old teammates who had gone to different schools were catching up. Parents chatted with parents and coaches they knew from softball teams gone by.
It was slow getting from one game to the other because you would see people you knew, or be introduced to new friends. Or maybe you were just reminiscing about how these girls had grown from being t-ball players to collegiate or potential collegiate athletes.
Yes, the games were amazing and the competition was fierce. But the massive gathering of softball families and friends was a heart-warming feeling. This sport brings people together and helps them build bonds that last a lifetime. Can’t wait to see it again next year.