Sydney Shimkus

My favorite bible verse is Jeremiah Chapter 29: Verse 11.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  When I look back at my life, I now realize that everything has happened for a reason.  

When I was young, my parents enrolled me in almost every sport because they refused to have any unathletic children.  I dabbled in basketball, rode motor cross, attempted volleyball; but eventually I narrowed it down to my two favorites, soccer and softball.  When I was 10 years old, my parents told me it was time that I picked my favorite sport to focus all my efforts on. This choice was difficult because in my mind I equally loved both sports, but I knew in my heart that softball was the way to go. 

The older I got, the more competitive softball became, which resulted in me needing to dedicate more time to it.  Practically every week day involves some sort of training or exercise, while my weekends consist of 5 hour practices or 3 or more games.   My entire life is based around my softball schedule. My school work would constantly pile up and I would lose friendships because I didn't have the time to hang out with them.   It was a never ending circle of ups and downs. Many people don’t understand the amount of time that goes in to softball and the toll it can take on someone mentally. There is a saying that softball is ninety percent mental and ten percent physical, I agree.  This sport will make you, or break you.

Although there have been negatives to my softball experience, it has also given me so many amazing opportunities that would have seemingly been impossible without it.  For example, last year I got the opportunity to play in a tournament in Washington D.C. called the Jennie Finch Classic. I got to play softball alongside girls from Texas, Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico, visit landmarks all around D.C., and attend the All Star Game at the Nationals Stadium, all for free. Also, if it weren’t for softball, I never would have gotten into RHP and gotten the one on one learning I needed in order to maintain the grades that were vital for getting me into college college.  RHP has been a unique experience, but one that has prepared me for the next step of my life: college.

When I was deciding what college’s offer I wanted to accept, I was conflicted on which school I wanted to go to.  I could go to Massachusetts and see where my dad grew up, or I could go to Texas and be close to where my parents and brother were moving.  Both options were amazing and I would be lucky to be able to experience either one, but I still could not decide. So, my family and I prayed.  We prayed for God to point me in the direction of where I would be for the next 4 years of my life. The following week, the school in Texas suddenly stopped communicating with me for no apparent reason.  I was hurt and disappointed because I had done nothing to make them lose their interest. This is when I realized that is the sign I have been praying for. God showed me the path I was supposed to take. Now, I am going to the school of my dreams, where I get to play Division 1 softball, study to become a nurse, and see the beautiful state my dad was born and raised in.  

If there is anything you can take away from my senior speech I want you to take this: everything happens for a reason.  Whether you believe in God or not, there is always someone looking out for you and helping you find the path you are intended to take.  So remember when times get rough, because they inevitably do, there is always something better waiting for you in the future.