Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – A part of me

Name: Madison Nicole Maness
From: Greensboro, NORTH CAROLINA
Grade: 11th
School: Southeast Guilford High School
Votes: 0

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When I was a little girl I always dreamed of becoming a professional
softball player when I grew up. From the time I could hold a ball, I
always had one in my hand. I started tee ball at age four and it was
all I ever talked about. My parents said that it became an obsession.
As I got older, I moved up in age groups until I finally got to the
age I could play travel ball. From age 12, I traveled up and down the
east coast playing almost every weekend. When middle school came
around, I was nervous I wouldn’t make the team but I actually made
it every year. Finally, freshman year came around and tryouts were
right around the corner. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole
week before tryouts. As a freshman, I made the JV team as the
starting pitcher. My record throughout freshman year was 12-1. While
pitching that year, I tweaked something in my lower back that put me
in a good amount of pain but I figured it was just a pulled muscle so
I paid no attention to it. Between high school softball and travel
ball, it had time to heal. As a sophomore, I made the varsity
softball team as the starting center fielder. It was quite a change
because I had never played outfield in my life so it was a whole
different role that I had to learn quickly. It scared me at first but
I realized that I needed to step up and do what the team needed me to
do. My coaches worked with me everyday at practice until the outfield
became natural to me. Throughout the season, I made diving catches,
catches in the gaps, and catches I never thought I would have a
chance at making. All that was great but it was one dive that took me
out indefinitely. I landed on my back and it was the worst pain I had
ever felt in my entire life. I knew right when it happened, I was
done with softball. I went to the doctor to get an x-ray and it
revealed that I had a fracture in my lower back. I was referred to
the chiropractor and he broke the news to me that I shouldn’t play
again. My heart shattered and I left like my whole life had been
taken away from me. I eventually accepted the fact that I couldn’t
change what happened so I decided to make the best out of the
situation. If I couldn’t be in the game, I would coach it. I wanted
to spread the knowledge I had to younger girls who wanted to learn
how to play. I signed up to help coach an eight year old team who
were just learning how to play softball. The girls always came to
practice excited to learn and that gave me so much pride and joy. I’m
extremely thankful for the opportunity to coach because it has taught
me to take a bad situation and turn it into a great one. Of course, I
still wish I could play which will never go away but I’m grateful I
can stay in touch with the game through coaching and watching my
friends that still play. A quote that really encouraged me throughout
this tough time is “Keep your head up. The toughest challenges can
help us grow the most. Worry less. Appreciate more. If you want
something, make it happen.” By Brooke Griffin. I definitely learned
to appreciate a lot more because you never know when something will
be taken away from you. As I grow up and start a family, I hope to
keep this lesson present in my life.


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