Thursday, June 20, 2013

Softball Win


The Green Dream Girlz just won against the undefeated team, the same team that took away our undefeated status by beating us twice. How good does our come back feel? Very good indeed!!!!

We held them off from winning the championship, which gives us a chance at winning the championship tomorrow, if it be the Will of God for us to be that successful.

Trophy for best defensive player in the league!

Even if we don't win tomorrow, I am so proud of Big A and Humble Dad. Big A pitched and struck out 14 players tonight! The most strikeouts you can get in 6 innings is 18, so that is kind of a big deal. Humble Dad coached some non-hitting girls on our team to not only hitting, but to hitting it out in the outfield. And some who were non catching- to catching and tagging out. We had many girls who were playing for the first year and they are doing well. Plus our four hijabis (scarf wearing Muslim girls) breaking stereotypes, makes it that much more sweeter!

I haven't been blogging for awhile, neither here nor at Noor Janan Sports. I am not sure why I thought I could have two blogs. I like simplicity and the maintaining of one blog can be a little much, I don't know why I thought I could maintain two. As always, I am thinking about others: ease of access for family, but truth be told the only family who really reads our blog is my wonderful husband, humble dad. Which is a good thing! As it was originally started for him and my oldest son who lives in Seattle, so they could know what we do all day. I love that we now have more than 1600 likes on facebook and I love sharing our homeschooling resources, but most of all I love documenting our successes and failures so that we can look back and learn from them and be grateful!

A Look Back at this Softball Season

Humble Dad has always worked with his own children in baseball and softball. Neither Big A or Z Man has had really exceptional coaching, like professional. Humble Dad has been it. If he doesnt know something, he will look it up on youtube. Yes, my children are athletically inclined or talented, but it is nothing like hard work, repetition, and a skilled trainer to make a talented player even greater. 

On the field off season, Humble Dad playing with our Beloveds.

Humble Dad trains in the back yard, or anywhere, they always have a glove and a ball, no matter where we go.
However, when Humble Dad decided he wanted to coach Big A's team, I was a little anxious about the commitment and honestly how would he do with his daughter on his team. He travels a decent amount for his job, sometimes his commute can be as much as two hours when coming from Northern Virginia or Washington DC. Sometimes, he will take off early, other days when he was staying in a hotel even further out in VA, he would still drive back to coach the softball team. Softball coaches are usually dads who work nearby or work from home and can set their own hours, I knew their would be sacrifices, but Humble Dad went over and beyond. Then what about my own sacrifices or those of my other children. I have missed and Z Man has missed some of his own games due this commitment we have for Big A's team. Not wanting our softball girls to be thirsty, I have provided water for the whole team, snacks for the team, I made a homemade banner, I have had to be 1st base coach while keeping score simultaneously. I thought my only job would be to keep score and be a moral support for my husband and daughter as well as to the other girls, but we have not had a whole lot of parent help on our team and more than that we have parents who complain and are not appreciative of the volunteer work we are putting into this, so my anxiety was underestimated! The stress, financial and time commitment is greater than I would have imagined, can I say it is worth it, honestly, not enough to do it again. But yes it was worth it to see Humble Dad happy about a successful strategy that he was able to work, or to see him happy about girls who were not hitting in the game- then come to practice and become one of our best hitters and of course to watch Big A develop and grow as a player under her father's tutelage was priceless.

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Although, Humble Dad could have used some help at practices which he would conduct entirely by himself which is insane! We did have two fathers that stepped up to help coach the games. One of the fathers, Coach D had a football commitment and could only coach 1st base on our Friday games. Coach D was our experienced coach and he knew exactly what to say to the girls, he would motivate them and especially remind Big A to calm down, breathe and pitch. I loved that he was vocal, I loved how he motivated them and I just simply appreciated him every minute he was there volunteering to help our girls get to where they are.

Silly Picture with Coach D on the right and Coach JB on the left
Then there was Coach JB who was just a dad with no softball experience who stepped up to assist. He didnt even own a baseball glove when he came out. And like Humble Dad, he would have to commute from Northern VA which could be more than 2 hours. I personally have a special place in my heart for their entire family, so this is very biased but we couldn't have done it without Coach JB. He ended up being the moral support I couldn't be because of how stressed I was. Maybe it is because he is from the Islands (St.Thomas), but he just had a wonderful positive spirit, pure awesomeness! Plus he happens to be the dad of Big A's best friend Z, one of our hijabis.

Four hijabis (scarf wearing Muslim women) from Left to Right: Z, Big A, M, & F
Speaking of hijabis, we had four of them! There are so many misconceptions that people have about Muslims, from what we wear to what our roles are in the house and in public life. Not just non-Muslims, Muslims also have some misconceptions too. Of course my girls were not going out to break stereotypes, they were going out to play softball and the fact that they are awesome, MashaAllah, is what breaks the stereotypes.

Z, Big A's best friend was the first player to join the team. She went through evaluation, and although she had no prior experience playing softball, humble dad had to pick her early on in the draft because she was Big A's friend and a natural big hitter.

Z is a natural big hitter with no previous experience.
 I also love this picture because I captured our favorite blue(umpire) happy.
Then came F, Big A talked to her alot at the Masjid and she would say she was interested in playing, but never signed up. She was a late comer to our list, but one of our most valuable players. F plays 2nd and she plays it with much skill although she has never played on a softball field before. Humble Dad was really appreciative at how coachable F was, whatever he would tell her she would do, which is huge when dealing with the hormones of this age group. Not only skillful, but F is truly humble as she always helps up her opponent after knocking them down in a play. She would also help them up when her opponents would slide into 2nd the wrong way. She brings a thoughtful Muslim adab (humble character) to an otherwise very competitive sport, with great focus and forethought. I am so very proud of F, MashaAllah.

We had an even later add, M and she also has been a great addition with her speed and grace.

Humble Dad was a little concern with the picking process, all the Muslims came on due to the Grace of God. However, everyone else he had to pick without really seeing their evaluation, just by using someone else's ratings. The players that he did see at evaluation, he was not able to pick. We can plan and then God Plans, and God is the Best of Planners.

Our 3rd baseman, D was also someone we eyed for being another pitcher. She's such a sweet girl and when I am organized and have the lineup on the fence, she will assist me in keeping the girls in order. Her parents are doing such an awesome job at raising a young lady. And she is a great softball player as well. We just love her attitude!

One relationship on our team that I was concerned about in the beginning was between my own daughter Big A and our catcher A. The catcher A didn't like the team color that Humble Dad picked, and Big A didn't like the team name: Dream Girlz that our catcher A picked. A silly argument to have, but we had two stubborn young ladies with very important roles, who we needed to lead their team in success, not in pettiness. They squashed it and have been an awesome dual, supporting one another and leading their team to a victorious defeat today! Our catcher A is not only a great catcher with an awesome arm, making that throw to 2nd base, but she is a great hitter also. We have grown to love her and pray for her continued success.

Catcher A's younger sister Y has also been a great contribution to the team as our shortstop. These sisters play to win, and Y is just as cute as she can be. We love this family's energy which we know comes from their spirited mother, who has brought some awesome moral support and cheering! This package also comes with wonderful family support, great grandparents who would be at almost every game, along with other family members.

Our first baseman A was humble dad's first pick and she has not disappointed yet! She is a powerful left handed hitter and has played first base skillfully, getting that out at 1st often.

I have enjoyed my time as Team Mom, all the girls are wonderful. Some of the girls not pictured individually because it is very hard to take pictures, while scoring, while keeping girls lined up, etc. also have had their own success and deserve recognition.

*None more than my precious N who started off not hitting and complaining why she couldn't be further up in the line up. We told her to start coming to Saturday morning practices, she did and Humble dad had her hitting it in the outfield. She is one of the best, if not the best hitters on our team. N is definitely the most improved player.

N is standing behind Big A, we were very appreciative that N came out to support Big A
and her teammates in the All Star Game
*Lil E our smallest player on the team was the first to come out to our Saturday morning practices, she also was a non hitter whom Humble Dad was able to get her hitting. She has also improved a great deal.

*Lil D, Coach D daughter was another one of our youngest players who has a wonderful attitude. She always knows her position in the line up, she is definitely the most organized on our team. I hope to see her in a couple of years because I expect big things from her.

* Then we have K and J, both whom we bring in from the outfield to assist in the infield at times. When they hit, it is usually a strong one, they are stable all around players who were very valuable to the team.

So why did Big A get best defensive player in the league? You should have seen the last out she made yesterday for the victory, no, even before then- at the beginning of the bottom of  the sixth inning. The game was tied at the top of the sixth inning, we made one run. The score was 4-3 with our opponent only needing two runs to win it. No one had to tell Big A what she had to do, she just nodded and smiled that beautiful smile, like "I got this" Big A struck out the first player, then struck out the second, she walked the third player. We just needed one more out, she pitched- strike 1, she pitched- foul tip, she pitched- ball, she pitched- the player hit it towards the ground in front of Big A. Big A scooped it up nicely, reached intently before it hit the ground for the FLY OUT! The look of confidence, the skill, she knew she had it and God Willing- she did. I LOVE every moment of watching Big A this season. Although, she played pitcher for most of the season, she was just as good as catcher & 3rd baseman. She had some trouble with hitting midseason, maybe to do with her eyes being crossed or not that strong. But she came back when we needed her. Sometimes, she would let her emotions get the best of her and tears would flow, but part of watching Big A mature was seeing her summon that inner strength, with a Bismillah (In the Name of God)

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