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.

 

 

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

Strength or weakness?

There have been multiple situations in my life where I’ve had to face adversity. Through these challenges, I’ve learned that I am someone who’d rather make light of a situation and stick to my commitments than burn bridges and jump ship. But is this trait a strength or a weakness?

My greatest fear in life is disappointment. I am a work horse and I will do everything in my power to not disappoint the people who believe in me. I’ve played for softball teams I didn’t want to play with, I’ve worked with people I didn’t want to work with, I’ve lived in places I didn’t want to live. I’m a people pleaser and although my ability to work with others and overcome life hurdles can be seen as a strength, it’s simultaneously my Achilles Heel.

More often than not I make life harder for myself by staying true to my commitments. I understand that there are times when I have to do what’s in my best interest but, at the same time, I consider removing myself from situations I can help as failing. Until I truly need to remove myself, why disappoint others for my own self interest? Why take the easy way out? Are you going to walk off the field when times get tough, or are you going to buck up and fight and claw and compete? You decide, but I know what my answer is.

Take the Crown

I was raised a Kansas City girl. For the last 19 years of my life, I have been absolutely faithful to my Kansas City teams and let me tell you, it wasn’t the most rewarding loyalty. Never once have I cheered against my teams and I will forever defend them with the upmost passion. This year, however, no defense is necessary because the baseball gods smiled on us loyal Kansas Citians. This year, my team is in the World Series.

It feels unreal. Tears have been shed. Voices have been lost. Extra innings have been conquered. It’s magical. Truly magical.

The Kansas City Royals have been my team since I was born and to see them play like this just makes my heart happy. We are playing like a team and we are winning games with fundamental mechanics. This team doesn’t have a star. We have no big names. Instead, we have the passion. This team is fun to watch. They do the right things, play on each others’ strengths, get excited for one another, and fight. They fight.

I’m a loyal fan and I cried tears of joy after watching them defeat the Orioles in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. They still had one more game to win, but at that point it became a reality. My team has demanded national attention and captured the hearts of many. I embrace the bandwagon fans because for the first time in a long time, we have fans. My team has reminded the country about what Kansas City has to offer. My team is ALCS Champs. My team is in the World Series and my team has a chance to win.

Prayers for NCTC

Apologies for not blogging in awhile, my life is pretty hectic. This week was our first week of team practice so we’re at 20 hours, I had 2 exams, a quiz, a 5 page essay over the Vietnam War, AND it was Homecoming Week so I’ve been pretty busy. However, I am making time to blog about the North Central Texas College softball tragedy.

Last night, around 9 p.m., the NCTC softball team was traveling back to Texas after playing games in Bethany, Oklahoma on Interstate 35. A tractor-trailer crossed the median and collided with the team’s bus causing four deaths and over 15 injuries

The softball community has become an outpouring of love and support for NCTC and are fostering a grieving community on multiple social networking sites. This story hits home for so many of us.

You may not get to pick your collegiate teammates, but your teammates are always there for you. Teammates are the girls that are there to see you fail, to see you persevere, to see you have success. They are there to pick you up when you’re down and they’re there to celebrate with you. They support you and pick on you. Being teammates is an amazing bond and in college athletics, a team only becomes a tighter, more cohesive unit.

To hear about the NCTC tragedy makes my heart ache. To have your teammates die around you, to see the girls that you look to for love and support broken. I pray for the NCTC softball team and I know I’m not alone. Today, we grieve together. Regardless of what division, what sport, what age, what gender, etc. Today, the softball community grieves the loss of a team.

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Thought Theta, Thought Right

As if I don’t have enough already on my plate, guess who pledged a sorority. This girl. Last week I went through Fall Formal Recruitment and narrowed down 12 fantastic chapter houses to one, Kappa Alpha Theta, and so far, I love it.

Balancing softball and school is a challenge in itself but I can’t wait to have this network in my life, as well. There are several athletes who are involved in the Greek System at KU and although I’ve already had to miss my first chapter meeting due to my sport, my house totally understands.

This year I’m going to survive only if I keep my priorities straight. In fact, I kind of developed a totem pole mentality. Obviously school is at the top. I am in school to get an education. I need to maintain a 3.4 GPA to keep my academic scholarship and It’d be pretty grand if I could stay in the Honors College. Second on my totem pole is softball. My coach gave me permission to rush only as long as I understand that softball will always come before my sorority. Division 1 athletics is a time commitment but the scholarship, perks, and rewards are definitely worthwhile. Third will be my sorority. Although it’s going to be hard missing events and formals, to me, it’s worth being a part of a sisterhood. I’m so excited to be able to do both and as I said, my chapter seems to be more than facilitating to my hectic lifestyle. A little lower on my totem pole will be all the fun stuff like sleep, food, basic necessities. Ha.. I’m kidding.. sort of..

Anyways, I can’t wait for all this year has in store. Like always, I’ll keep ya posted.