2017, College, CollegeSports, Public Relations, softball

One Door Closed-Thank you, softball.

 

The time has finally come. My softball career has officially ended (10 days ago). The practices that felt like they’d never end, the countless hours on a bus and the workouts that made me feel like death; they’ve all ended.

When they told me it would go by fast I really had no idea how fast and I’ll be the first to say, I still feel like freshman year was yesterday. I vividly remember moving into my dorm room and meeting the team for the first time.

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But despite it being the end of a huge chapter in my life, I am content, I am relieved and I am thankful for all the things that softball has given me (especially in the last four years). I can’t help but reflect and be happy for the amazing things softball brought into my life. Softball provided me with an incredible opportunity to earn a college degree, it taught me life lessons and skills and most of all, it gave me lifelong relationships with amazing people.

Although there will come a time where I miss the game and I will miss the grind of being an athlete, more than anything I will miss the moments spent with my teammates. I will miss seeing them each and every day (multiple times a day). I think I might even miss the long bus rides and the random conversations with them. There’s even a possibility that I will miss the 6am workouts. However, I think it’ll be awhile before I miss the bus rides and the workouts.

I can say for sure that my body is extremely relieved. The bumps, the bruises, the pulled muscles and the sore arm are all crying tears of joy. I know I am not “old” but there are days that my body feels like it and I am excited to have a time of recovery and relaxation.

For the last 18 years of my life I have called myself an athlete and for the last 12 years I have dedicated a copious amount of time to softball and becoming a better player. I fell in love with the game and I can still say I love it. I love what it has given me and I will forever cherish the memories and lessons. I have met amazing people and mentors. Softball has played an integral role in my life and I can wholeheartedly say that I would not be who I am or where I am without the game.

With that being said, there’s certainly an adjustment period and a time of transition. I have already caught myself saying “I play softball” and quickly correcting myself to say “I PLAYED softball”, I am no longer an athlete and that’s the weirdest part of it all. Now, I have to mentally prepare myself for days filled with work and adult responsibilities instead of sports and homework. My mind is already racing with ways I can pass time and new hobbies that I can pick up (and ways to earn money).

But… thank you softball for giving me something to work for, for giving me a college education and for putting amazing people in my life. Thank you for teaching me to get up when I got knocked down and for teaching me to never give up. You’ll always be my favorite sport.

Thank you to each and every coach that pushed me when it was the last thing I wanted to do and for teaching me that failure is part of success. Thank you helping me become the person I am today. You have a special place in my heart.

Thank you to my teammates that made the bad days better. Thank you for pushing me during every workout and every practice. Thank you for being the sisters I never had and for being the best support system. You really are family.

And most of all, thank you to my parents to driving me to practice all those years, for paying for me to fly all over the country and for showing up to every game of my senior year (it meant more than you know). Your support was truly incredible and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without. I love you to the moon and back.

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I may not be an athlete anymore but maybe someday I will be a coach and have another amazing opportunity to teach the game that gave me so much.

I am beyond excited for the future and for what life has in store for me.

Cheers to the end of a chapter and cheers to a new one.

 

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2017, College, CollegeSports, Public Relations, softball

The Waiting Game-Life without class

IMG_6066.JPGFor those of you who don’t know, I am in my last quarter of college at Central Washington and I am playing my last season of softball. However, I may be listed as a student but I am currently not enrolled in ANY classes (I have a 2 credit internship). This is without a doubt FANTASTIC, but I will say I did not expect to be bored enough to write a blog about being bored.

I learned very quickly that my days consist of waiting for practice or waiting for my boyfriend to get home (and then annoying him with my pent up energy).

I am so bored that I ordered myself a novel… I feel old saying this and I have never considered myself a reader but reading seems more productive than watching t.v. on the couch.

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I am so bored that going to get coffee has become a habit (merely because it gets me out of the house).

I am so bored that grocery shopping seems like a big event and I no longer dread it (I even get a little excited about it).

I am so bored that I resort to cleaning the house (ask my mom, this is absurd).

I am so bored that folding laundry does not feel like a chore.

There’s something about being extremely bored that initiates self-reflection and thought. My instinct is to look for ways to earn money and look for ways to better prepare myself for the future. But when I actually pause and think about it, I am a college athlete still and having a job is not realistic and I have a job to go home to when I graduate. I really am prepared, yet I still feel a need to prepare myself and be productive.

With that being said, not having class is relaxing and stress free. When we leave for road trips I can take coloring books instead of text books. I can watch movies instead of lectures and I do not have to worry about missing class.

I am patiently waiting for the weather to warm up so I can spend my days sun bathing in the backyard while reading a book.

But for now, I wait. I wait for practice, I wait for the weather to get nice and I wait for graduation and the next stage of life. And while I wait I cherish the moments I have left with my teammates, the final at bats, the final diving plays, the final morning workouts and the final practices.  I no longer take the mornings without an alarm for granted and the days I have no obligations are loved.

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It may not be the typical last months of college but I wouldn’t change it. I am beyond blessed to have a time for reflection and to have a time where I can be completely present in the last months of softball.

It may be a waiting game but it’s still a game and for that, I am thankful.

2017, College, CollegeSports, Public Relations, Road Trip, softball

10 Things they Never Told You about Being a College Athlete

The day you sign your national letter of intent is a day full of joy and relaxation. The hard work that you’ve been putting in for years, has finally paid off and that college search is officially over. But… that’s where the relief and relaxation ends. From that moment forward it’s four years of endless activities, practice, community service, working out, homework and traveling. So after four years as a college athlete, here’s 10 things that no one told me before I signed my national letter of intent.

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1. You’ll spend copious hours on a bus.

Prepare yourself, this may be absurd for those of you not involved in college athletics. In one season, we spend about 120.5 hours on a bus, give or a take a few and yes, we counted. You may think we have the luxury of flying everywhere we go, but that is not the case. We drive to California, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Canada. And when we do fly, that involves the drive to airport, to the fields and to the hotel. Needless to say, you learn to be productive on a bus and you learn to sleep in uncomfortable, awkward and small spaces. So next time you’re on a road trip that feels endless, just be thankful its not on a bus with 20 girls.

2. Your body isn’t made for the amount of physical activity you put it through.

When you’re 17 or 18 signing your letter of intent your body feels great, indestructible and young. When you’re graduating after four years, your body feels A LOT different. You feel old and it becomes clear that the mileage you’ve put on your body isn’t exactly normal. There aren’t many days where you wake up with out some sort of soreness or ache. It becomes clear that your body has more muscles than you thought because they are ALL sore. The hours of weight lifting, the long practices, the hundreds of games and everything in between adds up and it hits you hard.

3. Sleeping is a privilege.

For some, college means late nights and sleeping in till noon. For college athletes, it means late nights and REALLY early mornings. Imagine working two full-time jobs and well, that’s pretty much what it means to be a college athlete. You’re at school to get an education but that doesn’t change the fact that your sport is what got you where you are. Trying to balance the two often means cutting in to time for sleep. It means finishing the assignment five minutes before it’s due and it means only five hours of sleep before your alarm goes off for weights in the morning. So every once in awhile when you have the opportunity to sleep in, you are beyond thankful and you learn to take advantage of it.

4. You don’t get all the breaks like other students do.

It’s no secret that spring break in college is the epitome of wild, crazy and fun. Well, for some people. As a college athlete who has a spring sport, spring break doesn’t exist. While you’re on your way to Cabo or Hawaii, the softball team is in glorious Ellensburg, alone (except for the baseball team too). That week that is filled with fun, alcohol and sunshine is the week we spend extra time at practice and in the weight room. Even summer break isn’t always what you envisioned, summer break for a college athlete creates a massive opportunity for working out and getting better. So, if you think you want to be a college athlete let the idea of wild spring breaks go now.

5. Holidays aren’t always holidays.

Those long weekends because of Martin Luther King Day or President’s Day are just another opportunity for practice. Although it may seem normal and seem silly to talk about, it becomes extremely obvious that you’re missing something when you are the only people on campus (or in town). Oh, and don’t forget about Easter. For spring athletes, Easter is a Sunday that we have off but it’s not spent with family and it’s mostly exciting because of the chocolate that goes on sale the following day.

6. Being 21 doesn’t mean you can actually drink.

You’re finally 21, you can go to the bars and you can buy alcohol WHENEVER you please. Wrong. Being an athlete severely limits your extracurricular activities. Let me explain, the day season starts is the same day you can no longer treat yourself to a cocktail or a cold brew. You may be 21 but you are now dry for the next five months. This includes attending parties, going to the bars or just having a beer around the bonfire. NOTHING, zero, zilch. So what, right? Well, it’s true what they say, “you don’t miss it until it’s gone”.

7. Your teachers won’t always love that you’re an athlete.

Loved by many, hated by some. Some professors just do not understand. They take it personally when you miss class and they hold it against you. Miss a quiz because you were playing in a championship game? Your loss, hopefully there’s an extra credit opportunity. Getting hand surgery? Get well soon, but you won’t get your participation points and don’t forget to turn in your assignment and finish typing your essay… one handed.

8. You won’t always get along with your teammates.

You spend about 20 hours a week with your teammates, not including travel time and team bonding. They really do become family and with that comes a little bit of conflict. Just like with you brothers or sisters, there’s times when you need to be alone and away from the ones you love most. There’s nothing in particular that you can point out, but you just need time away and that’s okay.

9. You love and hate it all at the same time.

You definitely don’t love the early wake-ups, the 17 hour bus trips, the late nights spent studying, the missing out on weekend activities and you won’t love constantly splitting time between friends. But… you do love the game, you love your teammates, you love the grind and you love the memories that are created without even realizing it. You’ll say you hate it, but you you know it’s not true. You LOVE it, even on the days you think you hate it.

10. You’ll miss it before it’s even gone.

It’ll hit you hard before you know it and the realization that the grind of being an athlete is almost over is overwhelming. When you come to realize that you won’t be with your teammates day in and day out, you won’t be traveling with your best friends, you won’t be waking up sore knowing you had a great weekend and you won’t be able to say “I’m an athlete”, it hurts. And it’s easy to get emotional just thinking about it. You think of the seniors before you and you understand it, and you know why it was so hard. It’s not just saying goodbye to a sport but it’s saying goodbye to the last 15 years of your life and it’s saying goodbye to what turned you into the person you are today. So, even though I’m not quite finished with it, I can already say miss it.