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Chins up and smiling

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By Nick Schrager

 Sometimes it’s not about winning and instead about the pursuit, journey, and lessons learned.

On July 9, Marion County’s 11-12-year-old softball team fell to North Laurel twice in the Little League state championship. Unfortunately for the team, not only was their state title on the line, they had a lot of pressure to live up to. 

That’s because as many of you know, the 11-12-year-old softball team took the championship last year, and many of the players were on the 9-10 state championship team in 2012. Victories that big are not easy to recreate and because of this, I can’t say I’d blame anyone for being bummed out, if not heartbroken, about the loss.

For those of you who couldn’t make the drive to Springfield for the games, you missed some good ones. They sure went down fighting!

Without rehashing the whole evening, the girls started off strong but were taken by a surprising margin of 14-5 in their first contest. During their second game, Marion County and North Laurel exchanged blow for blow until the final inning. North Laurel took the championship with a two-run lead. 

As painful as these losses can be, the team, and its fans have to remember that making it to the final game of the tournament is something to be proud of. In fact, being No. 2 is nothing to shake a stick at – whether those girls realize it yet or not. 

Life is a series of wins and losses and unfortunately, there are usually a lot more losses than wins. If I had a dime for every loss I’ve had, I’d probably have a couple hundred dollars saved up for this year alone – and it’s barely half over. 

But where I see my glass as half empty, I see the all-star team’s as full with only a sip taken out. 

By the way, their glasses aren’t full of water either, they’re full of “Efferdence.”

You won’t find efferdence in any dictionary because it’s a word the team made up. It’s a mix of the words effort and confidence. 

And that’s exactly what each player had and gave.

Watching the team come out of the dugout after their defeat was inspiring. Adults, you could learn something.

Sure, there were some tears and shaky voices, but in the end, they lined up for a team photo with a smile on their face. Forced or not, it takes a lot of courage to stand in front everyone after the game and do that.

To be honest, I don’t know if I could have done it, and I’m sure a lot of adults couldn’t either. 

Though some of the girls may move onto other sports or other teams next year, there may be a few who return for another shot at the title. I just hope that by then, they haven’t forgotten the word efferdence.