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.

 

 

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.

Pals

It’s a truly amazing thing to have good friends in your life.

Growing up, I never spent a lot of time with the people from my school. I played softball every weekend and had practice twice a week. Those girls were more than just my best friends, they were my family. Today, a group of us got together for the first time since 2012 and it was honestly as if no time had passed.

I had some truly wonderful memories playing competitive softball, but like any competitive athlete will tell you, there are some serious downsides to it too. What truly bonds a team, however, no matter what age or level, is respect and I’m convinced that respect for one another is what’s kept my friendships with my former teammates so timeless. To this day, I respect their talent, personality, and values, something I hope I can achieve with any and all my future relationships.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is that you don’t need to be best friends with someone in order to be a good teammate. Results happen from mutually respectful relationships, however, I was fortunate enough to make lifelong friends with those who earned my respect. You may hear to surround yourself with like minded people or dreamers or optimists but from my (very wise) 19 years of knowledge, I find it best to surround yourself with people you want to fight for whether it’s on the field of play or not. The respect you have for a person is fundamental for success.

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.