Dear Warrior - There is More to the Story
“As soon as I wasn’t able to be on the softball field and produce as a player, all of my self-worth flew out the window...and that’s where my journey with identity started."
If today I were to meet you face-to-face and ask you to describe yourself, what would you say? What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you think of you?
If you asked me the same question when I was your age, I would define myself first as an athlete - a softball player. The same would be true for Becca Blatt, softball team captain and middle infielder for Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania.
Becca told us that for much of her career, she found her identity in her performance on the softball field. Her perceived self-worth rose and fell on whether or not she was able to play softball and if she was performing well on a given day. This was the lens through which Becca saw life until she reached college and for the first time, was forcibly sidelined due to injury.
Her most serious injury came in her sophomore year when she tore a number of ligaments in her ankle that would require surgery to repair. Never having experienced something this serious, Becca described the feelings that came from not being able to do the very thing she got her self-worth from.
“My breaking point was not being able to walk. As a kid, I always prided myself on being tough as nails, and not even being able to walk was the thing that really hit me hard. I fell into a trap of depression and I didn’t open up to the people around me or ask for any help.”
Becca shared about how without a strong support system, she started turning to substances like drugs and alcohol to cope with the mental and physical pain of her injury.
It got to the point where my self-worth was so greatly depleted that I even contemplated taking my own life,” Becca told us. “Up until that point I hadn’t called out to God and said that I was struggling and needed help. I didn’t talk to really anyone else about it either - not my parents, or teammates, or coaches. It was one of those things that I felt I had to deal with myself.”
Becca wrestled with these thoughts for a while until in one of her darkest moments she says she suddenly realized the truth of what God says about her and how He defines her - You have worth. You have a purpose far beyond all this.
With this truth at her core, she began her journey of discovering who she was beyond the softball field. It didn’t happen overnight, but as she learned more about her true worth, Becca found freedom and peace that she had never felt before. Now, she ultimately finds her worth in being a Child of God and knowing that she has been created on purpose and for a purpose that goes far beyond the softball field.
Since her sophomore year, Becca has experienced more lingering injuries that have affected her ability to play the game but she describes these adverse times as much less daunting because she knows that her true identity rests in a love that cannot be taken away.
“That peace is very freeing. In my sophomore year, I felt like the world was on my back. And sometimes I still carry the weight, but definitely not like I used to. I attribute that to the grace of God and finding ways of rooting my identity in Him and how He created me rather than my sport...
I was holding myself back and didn’t even know it. But by going through those things and now letting God hold my softball career in His hands, I feel very free and relaxed. I enjoy the game a lot more with that perspective.”
We asked Becca if any of the negative thoughts still creep into her mind today to which she undoubtedly said yes because we are all human and we all tell ourselves a negative story at times. When these lies creep in, Becca likes to take a deep breath and remind herself of the truth - You are loved. You have a purpose far beyond the field. She also told us about the trigger words she has written on her glove. When she is feeling down on herself, she looks at her glove and is reminded of the truth and it helps bring her back to the present moment.
We all fall down, Warrior. We all battle with negativity and in a world that praises success, it’s easy to get down on ourselves when our reality doesn’t match our expectations. But don’t lose sight of who you are - you are not the culmination of your highs and lows.
Look over at your teammates the next time you are at practice. Is there anyone who looks exactly like you? Anyone who plays exactly like you? Of course not - no two of you are alike and that’s how it should be! There is a mission for you on your team and in life that has been created specifically for you. Nobody can do exactly what you do because there is only one you!
You have a purpose and a story far greater than anything the stats sheet will ever tell. Soak up every moment of the game you love but don’t forget to keep perspective even on the days when you are feeling down. There is more to the story and there is more to you.
Girl, you got this!
Team Fearless, inspired by Becca Blatt
About Becca Blatt
Becca recently completed her degree in Psychology from Millersville University. She plans to return to Millersville in the fall to pursue a Master's in Athletic Coaching and take advantage of her fifth year of athletic eligibility. Her favorite thing about being a softball player is having the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than herself and her own successes. As a coach, she looks forward to having a positive impact on the next generation of athletes.
"You have worth. You have a purpose far beyond all this."