Diary Seven (May 4, 2005) - Well, I have been out of commission for a few weeks due to my knee surgery. I've never really had a sports related injury before, so I've never known what it's like to work so had all pre-season, and have to sit on the bench during games. This has probably been the toughest season I've ever been through.
The surgery itself went well; they cut a piece of my kneecap off and made it into a new ACL by screwing it into the bones. After scoping my knee, they also found that I had torn my cartilage- something the MRI did not show, and they repaired it. After surgery I was stuck in bed in a machine that moved my leg up and down for a week. I missed four games my team played, so I was not happy about that. I kept in contact with Carrie though, so I got to know how they did right when the games got over.
I got back to school the week after surgery, and was on crutches. Let me tell you, college campuses are no fun when you are on crutches- especially when you live on the third floor of a dorm that doesn't have elevators! Having crutches was also a pain during games, because it took me forever to get up and crutch out to the huddle between innings and I'm guessing that it was rather entertaining trying to watch me crutch and shake hands after the game.
I just got off crutches and into my new brace yesterday. Today I got the stitches out of my knee, so I am all fixed up! Now there is just a lot of rehab in front of me. My leg muscles are already really deteriorated, so I have a lot of work to do this summer to get them strong enough to play again. Hopefully I can come in next fall all rehabilitated and ready to play!
This weekend is the HCAC tournament, wish us luck!
Diary Six (April 12, 2005) - It has been a fantastic week! The sun is shining, and it is finally warm outside! Though this is advantageous for softball, it sometimes can serve as a distraction for college students because we just want to go outside and have fun instead of staying in and doing homework. This time of year is chaotic though- projects and papers due, plans for next year being made, and plans for the summer being finalized- so it is nice to be able to go out and relax in the sun sometimes.
Softball has been a lot of fun- we are playing well, winning games, and having a blast doing so. I think our constant state of excitement in the dugout carries out onto the field, and if we stay excited and mentally tough, we stay physically tough. We played Heidelberg this week, which was a lot of fun for me because I know two girls on the team really well, and have played with them before. Tiffin is only about 20 minutes from my house, so a few of my friends from high school also came to see the game, along with my mom and sister. Even though I can't play it is so much fun to be at a Bluffton softball game, they come anyways! We played awesome against Heidelberg, and pulled out two wins.
We had our first set of conference games on Saturday against Hanover. Our field crew
Ben, Jen, and Bloom worked for hours on the field to get it in perfect shape to play.
I think we were all just feeling great- our field looked awesome, our uniforms looked
sharp, and you could just tell everyone was ready to play. I think we were louder
in the dugout than we have ever been this year, and we were having a lot of fun. FCA
tailgated the games so the crowd was excited too- not just for the games, but for
the free food also! We played two great games; everyone just seemed to be on the ball-
including our pitching staff that did an awesome job. We won both games, giving us
a solid start to conference play. I think we are all excited for this upcoming week,
with another set of conference games against Mount St. Joseph, and 2 games against
Diary Five (April 5, 2005) - This week was just as busy as last week. The end of the semester is near which means a lot of work due in a short amount of time, which can become extremely stressful for us, as we have less free time available to help ease any worries we have. For most of us though, softball time each day is a time where we can just forget about everything else going on, and work hard playing a game that we love. Even though NCAA softball is very competitive and we all take the game seriously, it helps relieve stress for a lot of us by focusing all our energies on working hard, glorifying God, and having fun.
This week's games turned out well for us pulling out 4 W's, including two shutouts. On Monday we faced Case Western Reserve University. In the first game the score was held at 0-0 until going into extra innings. After Case scored in the top of the eighth inning making the score 0-1, we knew we were under a lot of pressure now, and had to answer back big. Carrie scored on a pass ball tying the game up, and using patience at the plate, we managed to load up the bases just in time for Mandy to hit a single, which scored Jackie! We have worked on keeping game like pressure on ourselves all year in practice, and this shows how it pays off- we didn't panic under heavy pressure, we just did what we needed to do. We started the second game off with a bang, scoring seven of our ten runs in the second inning. We played a great game defensively as well, and pulled a 10-1 win for the second game.
Wednesday we loaded up the vans for our first set of away games in Ohio, and headed
to Springfield to face Wittenberg University. You could just tell when we got there
that everyone was excited and ready t play. The excited was probably magnified because
of the, as Betts would say, "B-E-A-Utiful" weather outside! Wittenberg has a really
nice field, so I think it reminded us of Florida a little- playing on super-green
grass under the warm sun. Our pitching staff did an amazing job through both of the
games. We looked very solid defensively and offensively. We all just had a lot of
fun . especially Al and Mandy who were singing and jumping up and down in the dugout
or on the field for the majority of the day. I think this goes to show what strong
senior leadership we have on this team. Our seniors are solid on and off the field
setting good examples for all of us underclassmen, and doing anything possible to
get the team pumped up. Hopefully we can continue our winning streak this week as
we have six huge games against Heidelberg, Hanover and, Transylvania.
Diary Four (March 30, 2005) - This week was extremely busy, balancing school and softball. Most of my professors have assigned big projects or papers that I will be working on the next few weeks, and softball is now in full swing. We have started Monday night study tables for two hours though, so that should help me get some of the work done without interruptions. Sitting for two hours straight not talking has proved to be a challenge for me, but I know that it is helping me get my work done, so no complaints here.
Games are so much fun. Our fans are awesome- we had a guy in a superman outfit out
there for the Denison game, and the rest of the guys had big plastic barrels that
they beat on with drumsticks! They pulled their trucks and a grill out there behind
the outfield fence, and grilled as they watched. I'm glad that its not just our team
that has fun at softball games, but our fans have fun too.
We split with Denison, losing the first game 1-0 in extra innings, and winning the
second 4-2. The first game we had solid defense, but just couldn't get it done offensively.
We got runners on base, but we didn't execute and score them. The second game we played
more of our kind of game. We hit the ball well, and scored more of the runners who
got on. We were still very solid defensively, and we had a lot of fun.
We were supposed to play on Friday and Saturday but our games got cancelled. This
meant instead of not getting home for Easter until Saturday night, we got to go home
Friday after our morning practice. Though we really wanted to play, it was nice to
get an extra day at home with our family and friends. We had to be back to the gym
by 8 on Sunday night. That's right, practice on Easter night! It was really good though,
because we got to get a lot of batting in.
Monday morning I had a doctor's appointment in Lima to find out what is wrong with
my knee. It turns out, I completely tore my ACL and I have an MCL sprain. That means
I am having surgery in April, and won't be able to play for 6 months. I suppose it
is good that they are getting me in for surgery as soon as possible, because that
means I will be ready to play when fall ball starts. It is hard to know that I will
be sitting the bench through this season, but coach told me it is going to help me
become more head-smart, and know more about the game. I suppose that is true, and
I can still contribute to the team by cheering, helping with scouting reports, and
helping with hitting stations at practice though Jackie tried to take out my other
knee the other day hitting whiffle balls during practice!
Diary Three (March 21, 2005) - This week was our first double header on our own turf. We were excited all week, and worked really hard at practice. As a freshman I had never experienced a game here at Bluffton, but you could tell the rest of the team was ready to play in front of packed stands. At my high school, softball didn't get a lot of support from students. We always had our parents there, and sometimes a few of our friends would come, but it is nothing like here at Bluffton. It seems like everyone comes to see the softball games. Wednesday, some guys pulled their trucks up to the center field fence and were all decked out in Bluffton gear. They put K's on the fence every time Sarah had a strike out, and had a horn they would blow all the time.
A lot of students and staff came out to see us, along with our parents. I wasn't expecting so many people to show up because it was pretty cold Wednesday, but it just goes to show what dedicated fans we have! Pre-game was a lot of fun, but when the game started you could tell we just weren't ourselves- there was something off. We ended up losing the first game, but after a little regrouping we came back and won our second game. I got to hit the first game, but I have a feeling it will be the only field time I see for a while.
In the first game after coming in from batting, we were cheering in the dugout. Sarah
Nusbaum and I jumped up to hit each other and I came down with my knee locked. It
felt like I stepped on a piece of bubble wrap- it just crunched. They took me to the
training room, put me on crutches, and I stayed and cheered the rest of the game.
After an appointment at the orthopedic clinic, I am in a knee brace and on crutches
at least until I get my MRI read on Monday. The doctor said he thinks I tore some
ligaments and possibly my meniscus and ACL. What a freak accident! I can get slid
into a hundred times a day catching, trip over bases, dive for ground balls, but I
jump 6 inches off the ground and I seriously mess my knee up- how weird. I suppose
it all happens for a reason though. I just have to let it heal and sit back and learn
as much as possible. And hey, at least I didn't injure my mouth- I can still be loud
and annoying in the dugout!
Diary Two (March 14, 2005) - All I have to say is thumbs down to Ohio weather! We are back from the sunshine of Florida to face 30-40 degree temperatures and a little snow on the ground in places the sun doesn't hit directly. This is a drastic switch from shorts, flip-flops, and the 75-degree sunshine. I am still currently boycotting shoes, and everyone picks on me for wearing flip-flops on the way to practice- I just can't bring myself to put them away until summer!
The van ride back from Florida was slightly more depressing than the ride down; more depressing but less cramped. About half the team rode home or flew home with their parents, so we got to stretch out a little more. I somehow managed to get the whole backseat of the van to myself for the majority of the way back, which was very nice. We watched the whole first season of friends on the way back- I think the theme song will be forever ingrained in my brain- not to mention coach clapping every single time it was played! It was a lot of fun though, and I can't wait until next year to go again!
The trip overall was fantastic. We played well, and had fun doing so. We ended up with a record of 4-2. Not only did we learn from our losses, but we also learned from all four of our wins. We know now what we need to work on, individually and as a team. Coach sat the team down right after every game and went over what we needed to work on so it was fresh in our minds. I need to work on being patient at the plate- waiting for my pitch and not just going after whatever the pitcher throws at me.
We are back in the gym this week, working on all of those things we talked about.
We've done some individual work, and worked on defense and offense as a team also.
We will continue to work hard the rest of this week and into next to prepare for our
first home game on Wednesday!
Diary One for preseason (March 9, 2005) - Being a freshman on the Bluffton University softball team has been an interesting experience so far. I have been on numerous teams before, but I have never been on one that meshed as well, and had as much fun as this one. I came in thinking that college ball was going to be all work and not a lot of fun, and though we work harder than I have ever worked before, it is a lot of fun. We worked hard all through preseason starting in the fall with practices and a tournament in Toledo. I enjoyed playing that tournament because I got some time on the field, and it showed me what I needed to improve on before the season started. It also helped us bond as a team, and showed the rest of the freshmen and I the drastic difference between high school and college softball.
Coming back from Christmas break meant 5 am practices. That's right, most of us were in bed by 9pm, and crawling out of bed at 4 o'clock! Not only was that physically demanding with a lot of conditioning and drills, but being a natural social butterfly it was challenging to me to have to sacrifice time with my friends at night, to get to bed earlier.
One thing I did enjoy about our early practices was our devotionals. Before each practice we do a 15-minute devotional led by someone on the team; usually Jackie, but Lane, Coach, and myself have also done them. Not only does this keep God at the center of our practice, but it also helps me start the day off feeling spiritually refreshed even when I feel physically tired.
Through preseason we have all been counting down to Florida. We got to hear the upperclassmen
talk about how much fun it is, and coach talk about how it is a great opportunity
it is to get out of the gym, onto a real field with real dirt, and see how everything
we have been practicing has come together. The ride down was fun, but being cramped
in a van with 9 other girls was anything but comfortable. It definitely forced about
16 hours of bonding time. We are staying in 2 houses here in Orlando, and though seeing
the same 20 people morning, noon, and night for the past 4 days has at times proved
to be a challenge, with such a great group of girls it has been a blast.
Yesterday we played our first two games. Walking up to the field, the excitement from the seniors was contagious. Between the beaver rumble, our fans screaming, and Mandy and Michelle chest butting, you can't help but to have some fun! The atmosphere here is so different from that of my past softball experiences. Everyone just wants to go out on the field, play hard and have a good time doing so. Even though I didn't get in to play, along with the rest of the bench, I had a crucial role, cheering and relaying information to the rest of the field. We won both of our games yesterday, 6-0 and 2-0.
Our games have been cancelled today, and we are just about to leave for the Dixie Stampede to see a show. I don't know how I feel about this, but I suppose anything will be fun with the rest of the team there!