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Brittany Holland's Circuitous Journey Leads To Arizona State

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(Photo by Ragin' Cajuns Athletics)

As an athlete, tearing your ACL once is bad enough. It involves months and months of rehab, tough questions and other challenges. But tearing it twice? Only a limited number of athletes can attest to that experience, with Brittany Holland, Arizona State’s newest infielder, being one of them.

Holland began her college softball career in 2017 at Central Arizona College, a community college located in Coolidge, Ariz., just under an hour away from her hometown of Gilbert. She joined the team partly because the head coach, Shelby Davis, was the daughter of her former travel ball coach for the Arizona Hotshots, Gary Davis. Holland excelled during her freshman season, hitting .471, smashing 15 dingers and knocking in 81 RBI. The team went to the JUCO World Series, finishing the season in the quarterfinals.

Following that season, her former travel ball coach Gary Davis called a friend of his—Gerry Glasco, the newly hired head coach of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns—and mentioned a pretty good player that he knew. Holland then ended up transferring to Louisiana and began her sophomore season in Lafayette.

It was a perfect fit. Holland was actually born in Louisiana, a couple of hours north of Lafayette, and had already spent a part of her childhood in the state. The team was already very good, often ranked among the top 25 Division I teams in the nation, and an exciting season seemed to be on the horizon. Unfortunately, in early February, Holland tore her right ACL and her season was over.

Then came her redshirt sophomore season. Unbelievably, before the season even started, she suffered another season-ending injury—this time to her left ACL, as well as her MCL and meniscus.

At this point, one could definitely sympathize with a decision to call it quits, but no such decision went through Holland’s head. In fact, she even remained upbeat.

“Honestly, I was very positive through the whole two years of my rehab and a lot of people would always come up to me and be like, ‘Wow how are you so positive?’ or ‘I know someone who tore their ACL and rehabbed and they told me if I tear it again, I’m not playing softball. I’m done. There’s no way I can do two rehabs. I don’t know how you went through this twice,’” Holland said. “But I was always very positive about it because, I mean, it happened and I have to get through it.”

She did get through it and entered the 2020 season fully healthy and ready for a new start. Again, unfortunately, the season was short-lived and the entire softball world was shut down in March due to COVID-19.

Having her season cut short now for a third time was admittedly pretty tough for Holland. But she had a strong ally in her mom.

“So many times during this process and this journey, there were many times where I was like, ‘I don’t even know if I want to play anymore.’ My mom was like, ‘You did not rehab for two years and go through all this for you not to come back and play one season. You deserve that,’” Holland added.

After the 2020 season came to an end, Holland decided that it was time to be closer to home and entered the transfer portal. She will be playing this season in Tempe for Arizona State, much closer to her family.

At the end of the day, her family is a crucial part of why she’s still playing softball at all.

“My whole family’s a baseball and softball family, so I grew up around it,” said Holland. “It was a dream to play Division I college softball for as long as I can remember. My whole mindset and my ultimate goal at the end was I didn’t play softball my whole life to just give up. The love of softball, that’s why I continue to play.”

The only question that remains is, after all this, what year is she?

Holland said: “Technically, I’m a redshirt, redshirt, redshirt sophomore.”

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