Here at Chaparral, only a small percentage of gifted athletes participate at the varsity level. An even more miniscule group receives letters from prestigious universities offering scholarships. Being a star student athlete means performing on the field, in the classroom, and life as a whole. Emily Moore exemplifies this. Now a freshman at Austin Peay University, the former Wolverine represents our school 1,115 miles away.  Moore has written this open letter as encouragement, inspiration, and direction to the players of today, showing a level of leadership represented only by those who put diligence into winning the game of life

Dear Chaparral Softball (and whomever else it may regard),

A new Birmingham has been painted; a new era has begun.  What is not new, however, and what will never change, is the core value system of the Chaparral Softball program:  heart, family, courage, determination.  It is sometimes difficult to see a clear path.  Obstacles get in our way, distractions arise, and failures knock us down.  This brings us to a true test of character.  Who are you going to be when things get tough?  When everything seems to be against you, what will you do?

Things were not always easy for group I was a part of for four years.  We struggled and we sacrificed to get where we ended up.  It was a grueling journey at times, but it was worth every second of it.  The moments, the feelings, the lessons, the relationships -- all made me who I am today, and all will stick with me forever.  

The first thing you have to realize is that YOU made the choice to play high school softball.  Nobody forced to you to go out there on the field.  You can make it the best time of your life, or you can decide to be miserable -- the choice is yours.  Not every moment is going to be exactly the way you want it to be, so complaining is useless.  As Bob Dylan said, “negativity don’t pull you through”.  You can find good in anything if you have the right attitude -- it’s all about perspective.  You’re not always going to agree with your coaches or your teammates, but they are a part of your family now.  Always be supportive, always be encouraging, always stand by each other.  You will create the most indescribable bonds with these people if you just give them a chance.

Another thing you have to accept is that you’re not perfect -- there is no such thing as a flawless performance.  They say softball is a game of failure.  Let the game be what it is.  There’s a sort of beauty in these failures that we encounter.  Each defeat provides us with an opportunity to grow and learn for the good of ourselves, and our teammates as well.  Embrace it.  All that you can do is the best that you can do.  If you play every moment giving a perfect effort, you will find success.  It may be in a completely different form than you were expecting, but the reward is valuable nonetheless.  

The game of softball takes hard work.  The game of softball takes confidence.  The game of softball takes character.  The game of softball is a game.  If you take it too seriously it can destroy you.  Have fun.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.  Smile every once in awhile.   But at the same time, respect the game and all that it gives you.  You are blessed to be able to play -- don’t ever take that for granted.  Every time you put on that Chaparral jersey, do things with dedication, commitment, honesty, integrity, passion, perseverance, tenacity.  When you play like that, you will become like that, and that’s what being a Chaparral Wolverine is all about.  Softball takes heart; life takes heart.  Lucky for us, we all have one.  You get to decide how you use it.

Chaparral Softball made me who I am today.  My only hope for you is that you can walk away with the same feelings that I had.  Whether you have more years here at Chaparral, or you’re moving on to your next stage in life, take time to appreciate your experience.  Learn from it, build on what you have created, and know that you can do anything you set your mind to.  It’s time for you to paint your next Birmingham.

Your Friend,

Emily Moore

by Carson Frost


 photograph by Carson Frost

photograph by Carson Frost