For the Love of the Game

When I go back to school, it’ll be my last year of undergrad and my last year of playing fastpitch softball. Though I’m excited for my senior year, I can’t help but feel my heart aching in anticipation of my last season.

This game has shaped the person I am and I’m not sure anything could prepare me for the end of its chapter.

I’ve recently become very conscious of the impact the game of softball has had in my life, something my internship this summer has really made me aware of. I’m able to think on my toes, I’m attentive to detail, I’m not intimidated by senior level execs and I never make the same mistake twice. Corporate America can be pretty intense, especially in the world of crisis communications, but I’ve realized that I have every tool I need for high-pressure, time sensitive projects thanks to the game of softball.

Asking an intern to take on a component of an important project is like putting in a pitcher in the top of the 7th, a situation I’ve grown to embrace. Tears are not uncommon in the office during all-hands-on-deck moments, but I’ve blown enough leads, given up enough homeruns, and had plenty of frustrating bullpens to know better than to crumble when my name is called.

I’m not sure if being in a city that lacks softball players has made me more aware for my love of the game or if it’s the impending doom that is senior year, but damn, I am forever indebted to this game. It has prepared me for life, given me amazing friends and experiences and taught me the importance of overcoming adversity. There have been trophies and medals and there have been heartbreaks and injuries. There have been tears of joy and tears of utter embarrassment. Thinking about what this game has given me incredibly emotional and I know that when the day comes that I put my jersey on for the last time, it’s going to absolutely tear me to pieces.

When I was younger, I used to look up to the ‘big girls’ and plaster KU Softball posters to my walls. Sometimes I forget about the girls that come to my games and think the same of me. I would do just about anything to go back to getting my first ‘big girl’ bat, buying my first (of many) tournament t-shirts, waiting out club softball rain delays, winning a state championship, signing my NLI, putting on a #8 Kansas jersey and striking out my first college batter.

I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with and am so excited for the year ahead. No matter how hard I try, I’m not sure I can avoid being a ‘big girl’ any longer… Senior year, here I come.

 

 

The Park

I’m not sure there’s anything as magical as a summer day in Central Park.

Thousands of people walk the intertwining sidewalks without purpose just enjoying a beautiful, sunny day. It’s hot and sticky outside, but the trees provide that perfect amount of shade and the breeze flows throughout the park in a way it doesn’t when you’re surrounded by skyscraper buildings.

I finished my book today laying on a blanket in a shaded lawn and although the happy ending to my book put me in a pleasant mood, the sounds of the saxophone player in the distance and the children giggling through the fountains made me feel completely at peace.

Central Park truly is an oasis from the  city. The vendors hum to themselves, old men play pickup softball games, little kids are learn how to ride bicycles and do cartwheels. There are Popsicles and bubbles and birthday parties and picnics and people just asleep in the grass. There’s truly nothing like it. Days like today are the best days. 

I won’t just survive

The 2016 Summer Olympics has officially announced the #Rio2016 anthem as Katy Perry’s new song “Rise” and let me tell you, it’s perfect.

Being a competitive athlete is sometimes a very difficult thing to explain to someone but this video resonated with me in an amazing way. It gave me goosebumps, hurt my heart, and made my muscles twitch to compete, all at the same time. I’ve never seen something that so beautifully captured what it’s like to be an athlete.

Being an athlete requires absolute strength – and I’m not talking about muscle strength – I’m talking about the kind of strength it takes to clear your head after an error, to take hacks after striking out, to pitch to the best hitter after giving up a grand slam, to push yourself through an injury, to suffer an embarrassing loss, and to have all expectations absolutely knocked from under your feet.

Yes, it is hard.

Yes, it does suck sometimes.

Yes, there are moments when it doesn’t feel worth it.

But, when it pays off it’s unlike any other kind of victory. It’s relief. It’s amazement at your own ability. It’s pride and it’s pure.

I’m not an Olympic athlete and will never be one. But, this video isn’t just about Olympians. It’s relatable to college athletes, like myself. It’s relatable to high school athletes striving for the next level. And most importantly, it’s relatable to anyone who has ever had to stand up and fight for something. It’s overcoming adversity. It’s accomplishing something you never thought you could do. It’s proving the people who doubted your every move and it truly embodies what it means to be passionate.

It may be the new Olympic anthem, but I think I’ve decided it’s my new anthem, too.

See the lyrics below:

I won’t just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can’t write my story
I’m beyond the archetype
I won’t just conform
No matter how you shake my core
Cause my roots, they run deep, oh

Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in my veins
I know it, I know it
And I will not negotiate
I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it
I will transform

When, when the fire’s at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They’re whispering, “you’re out of time.”
But still, I rise
This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in; think again
Don’t be surprised, I will still rise

I must stay conscious
Through the menace and chaos
So I call on my angels
They say…

Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in your veins
You know it, you know it
And you will not negotiate
Just fight it, just fight it
And be transformed

Don’t be surprised, I will still rise