Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shreveport-Bossier and Centenary Softball Fans—

My name is Allison McClain and I’m a member of the Centenary Softball team. You can find me somewhere in the infield as a utility player or just look for #8 on the back of my jersey. I am Communication-Professional Writing major with a minor in German. I hope to work in Media Relations or Community Development for a professional sports team one day. I am here all season, along with several of my teammates, to provide you with the inside scoop on Centenary softball. Go Ladies!

I personally find the game of softball to be similar to that of a rollercoaster ride—we have our up moments and our down moments mixed in with a little exhilarating excitement along with a little bit of nervousness as we venture to the top or play our first games of the season.

 We loaded the bus for Texarkana last Friday at noon to play Oklahoma State in the opening games of the season. When we arrived in Texarkana, Arkansas, I think the realization of beginning the season had finally sunk in. Suited up in our new warm up tops and uniforms, we walked off the bus ready to play.

 As the double header against the Cowgirls from Stillwater went on, we continued to fight. Their bats came alive when our bats didn’t. We seemed to struggle manufacturing runs leaving sixteen batters on base over the course of the two games. Some of the exhilarating moments that brought life to the game as we escaped the lights of the scoreboard were homeruns by freshman Bonnie Matak and senior Lyn Virdell. 

 After about six hours at the ballpark on Friday evening, we headed to dinner late that night at Apple Bee’s. We were exhausted from the wind and cool breeze, but were much luckier to have a beautiful day without rain. At dinner, we celebrated the birthday of Coach Angus. Leaving the restaurant a little after midnight, we checked into our hotel and fell asleep immediately for a 7:00 am wake up call.

 Saturday morning awaited us as we grabbed a quick breakfast and loaded the bus for the double header against University of Alabama-Birmingham at 10 a.m. We arrived in uniform for warm ups and pre-game. Game time came and we proved that we could rise up from the down moment of Friday’s games and play hard. Even though we didn’t come away with a win on Saturday against the Blazers, we had impressive pitching performances from Stacy, Lauren, and Ryan who kept us in the ball game, but once again our bats seem to struggle at the plate as we couldn’t find a way to score a run.

 We played the first two games of the day, so we ended up having the rest of the day to relax and catch up on some much needed sleep. Our team left the ballpark, headed to Olive Garden for a late lunch, and then back to the hotel to chill for the rest of the evening. Some players were able to spend time with family members who drove miles to visit their daughters and other players were able to work on homework, watch television, and do each other’s hair for Sunday’s games (haha thanks Lauren).

 Though the sleep was much needed, a win was needed more. We were able to sleep in on Sunday, grab a quick bite to eat, and arrive at the ballpark to face the University of Arkansas. It seemed to be a bit of a rival as we faced them my freshman year taking a game from the SEC Lady Backs. But this year, things just didn’t seem to go our way from the beginning. We were faced with adversity from the opening pitch of the double header, but as always we fought and fought coming up short. 

 Sophomore Allison Shepperd was able to provide a little spark with her first homerun of the season, but it just wasn’t enough as we continued to battle. Though our weekend ended in six losses, we learned a lot about ourselves and our team in each one of the games.

 Great things came about in each game, but more and more things need improvement. We encountered injuries that set us back a little, but as we prepare for this coming weekend at Baylor, we hope to work through the adversity and find a way to win some games.

 As a student-athlete at Centenary College, I find it interesting to pull up at the ballparks where big-time SEC and Big 12 schools sit and await. We walk up in maroon and white with a sense of pride knowing we are just as competitive as they are. Yeah, we might not have a stacked team of twenty or so girls, but we have the same idea about winning and playing softball as any of them do. It just means much more when we can come away with a win.

 Even though this weekend didn’t go as we planned, we, as members of the Centenary softball team, feel that a true athlete can only show their fight and will to win when they are put up against the best and still finds ways to have those exhilarating moments that are so much fun to talk about. We had a few this weekend, but are looking for much more.

 Coach Montgomery always says, “It’s not about the product right now, it’s about the process…” and with that said, we go into this coming weekend with more of an understanding of who we are as a team and not who we think we should be. Our team can only do what we do. Nothing else.

 So, we head off to Baylor University on Thursday to play Syracuse at 10 a.m and Purdue at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Syracuse at 10 a.m. and Baylor at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, and Purdue at 1 p.m. and Baylor at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

 Wish us luck as we prepare for an exiting weekend!

Go Ladies!

 “I come to play everyday.” –David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

For the love of the game,

-Allison McClain


No comments: