A letter to my teammates who played the bench

Dear former teammate of mine,

I know we are no longer teammates anymore, and I know you no longer play the sport you once loved so much, but I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

I know you worked your rear end off in practice only to see a few minutes of playing time if you were lucky. I know you cheered our team on and rode the bench with pride, while deep down, you were itching to just see the field. I know it was easy to feel defeated when you hardly ever saw the field and it was hard to feel a part of the team. I know you would go home after practices feeling mentally defeated and breaking down to your parents every now and then. I know the sacrifices you made to be a part of the team, and having little to feel responsible for. I know how much conditioning and punishments you suffered through at practices for other people’s shortcomings. And I know how difficult it was to talk to family and friends about the team when you yourself weren’t given the chance to contribute as much as you could to the success of the team.

For these reasons, I would like to say thank you.

Thank you for sticking it out and not quitting on the team even though I’m sure you wanted to. Thank you for working your tail off in practices. Not only were you improving  yourself, but you were a key reason why I improved and the rest of the team improved as well. Thank you for cheering us on during the games and giving us pep talks when we were periodically subbed out. I heard your cheers and critiques, and I valued being able to vent to you and strategize with you on the sidelines. Thank you for sacrificing your social life and other obligations to be a part of the team. Without you, we would not have been as successful as we were. Thank you for running all the field-and-a-halves that we were punished with for an ugly loss that you had nothing to do with. Thank you for being a team player. Thank you for putting on that jersey with pride, even though there were times when you just wanted to turn it in.  While coach may not have always seen the potential and skills you had, I did and I respected you, and still do, for those skills.

So, while this is all in the past and our lives have moved on, I just hope you know that your role on the team was not forgotten. You have taught me many valuable lessons not just about the game, but about life as well. I hope you never stop believing in your potential, and know that I will be cheering you on from the bench in your future endeavors.

With all the respect a girl can give,

Your former teammate.

“Champions believe in themselves, even when no one else does.”

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