Success occurs when preparation meets opportunity.  The junior varsity softball team from Marshall High School in Indianapolis was in no way prepared to play the freshman team from nearby Roncalli High when the schools met last spring.  Roncalli had not lost a game in 2 ½ years and this was Marshall’s first game ever.  That fact alone would make for a potential blowout.  But Marshall had even greater disadvantages.  Marshall brought two bats, five balls, no helmets, no sliding pads and no cleats.  Several players did not know where first base was, how to stand in the batter’s box or how to hold a bat.  Their coach had never even seen a softball game before.  Roncalli decided to end any potential humiliation before it started.  At first, Roncalli coach Jeff Traylor suggested it would be more beneficial to have the teams practice together.  That meant Marshall would forfeit the game, something its players did not want to do.  So Roncalli then offered to be the team that would forfeit – a gesture that would bring its impressive winning streak to an end.  While not wanting to quit, the Marshall players ultimately realized that the opportunity to practice with Roncalli would help them become a better squad.  In the end, Marshall officially forfeited the game, refusing to allow Roncalli to suffer a loss on paper.  Instead of a lopsided result, the afternoon turned into a valuable session for both sides as Roncalli players worked with the Marshall players on fundamentals.  Traylor told, “One at a time the Marshall girls would come in to hit off of the [Roncalli] pitchers.  As they hit the ball their faces lit up!  They were high fiving and hugging the girls from Roncalli, thanking them for teaching them the game.  The change from the beginning of the game to the end of the practice was amazing.”  Traylor then decided to go a step further for Marshall.  He asked his players’ parents and others in the community to contribute money and equipment.  The effort raised $2,500.  The selflessness and generosity inspired Reebok and the Cincinnati Reds, who provided equipment and field preparation.  Marshall did not win any games last season, but the team held leads in its last three contests.  The girls were excited by their progress and returned to Roncalli two weeks later for another practice.  Their passion for the game blossomed to the point where the Marshall players and parents wanted to extend the season and play AAU summer softball.   By offering to give up a sure win, Roncalli gained something greater – knowing that loving the game is so much sweeter when you share it with someone else.