July 1st marked the 24th anniversary of the release of the movie A League of their Own—can you believe that opened all the way back in 1992? The BELONG Tour’s resident softball aficionado looks back on that now-classic summer film, softball, and lessons she learned from them.

I remember sitting in my dorm room one weekend in college, bawling my eyes out, as I watched A League of Their Own eight times. (You guys . . . 8 TIMES.) I love this story (obviously) and connect so much to this group of women who risked a lot to live their dreams.

I hung up my softball cleats ten years ago but recently I’ve thought a lot about the lessons I learned on the field: Lessons in team work. Lessons in hard work. Lessons in winning. And especially lessons in losing.

When I was eight years old, I played on a team called the Cubbies.  My dad and a friend of his coached the team and we had the time of our lives. There was nothing I loved more than fielding ground balls, playing catch, running fast and . . . WINNING.  One hot summer day, while living the dream, something terrible happened: after a hard-fought battle, we lost.  Devastation and anger filled my little body; as my team lined up to shake the other team’s hand, I sat firmly on the bench. I will never forget my dad coming over to me and saying, in a gentle-yet-firm way, “How you handle yourself when you lose matters.  You fought hard, the team fought hard, and the other team earned the win. You will get off this bench and shake their hands.”  I didn’t like it at the time, but I am so glad I learned that lesson at a young age.

Friendship. Endurance. Leadership. Heartache. Softball played a HUGE part in making me who I am today and I will be forever grateful to my teammates, coaches, family and friends who taught and supported me.

Although when the time came to hang up my cleats, I was ready, I look back and smile at the awesome memories. Some of the best times of my life were spent playing in the dirt. So thank you, Rockford Peaches, for sharing this love so well on the big screen.

Chrissy isn’t the only one with fond memories of A League of Their Own. Earlier this year the film’s star, Geena Davis, got members of the original cast back together for a reunion game. See the story—and one of the original Rockford Peaches—here.