The Diary Of A College Softball Player - Season In Full Swing
The college softball season is now officially in full swing. I don’t know why, but it’s finally starting to hit me after playing 12 games. It feels like the season is flying by.
After coming off a great run in Clearwater, Fla., my team is feeling all the feels. I would say I am at the top of that list with emotions. I have learned a lot about myself and my team so far this season.
First and foremost, there is no more questioning Duke after losing an amazing senior class. We are still a dominant team that should not be taken lightly. Our hitters can hit the long ball, while also playing the short game. Plus, all our pitchers are phenomenal and different in various ways. No matter the opponent we face, we know we will always give our best effort and compete until the end.
The Arkansas game really set this example for us. In the back of our minds there was a bit of noise questioning our talents, but I feel as though we have finally told the noise, “shut up!” It was a great team win, as everybody played their role to the best of their ability.
Our cheering and energy in the dugout (aka “Club HellRaiser”) created momentum for our hitters to get key and timely hits. Our freshman Cassidy Curd stepped up in a big moment, keeping Arkansas off balance. Then, I was honored to come in and help my team shut the door, getting us a ranked win over a top-five team. Everyone on Team 6 had a key moment in the Clearwater tournament to help us have a successful weekend. It felt great to clear up any doubts about our team. We believe we can compete with any team in the country. To make the win even better, we celebrated with delicious ice cream.
Off the field, everybody knows the student-athlete lifestyle is a grind, but at Duke the grind is especially strenuous. Skipping one class at Duke often feels like you have missed three days' worth of material. There is no getting by just by asking a classmate for notes or reviewing lecture slides.
Coming off back-to-back Thursday to Sunday tournaments has put us a step back with school work, but we Blue Devils always get back on track. The emotional roller coaster of it all is draining, as you are always having to play catch up. In addition, you know there will be more class days you will have to miss, so the cycle is tough. I have been exhausted and homework is the last thing I want to think about, but I would much rather just get it done so I can save myself the stress and anxiety of it all.
Personally, stepping into the role of ace has been a journey! It's only week three and I have already learned so much. In my role last year, I was a silent killer. There was not much film on me and nobody really knew what I was capable of. Now, film is my greatest enemy. Granted, I know this is only going to make me better. My softball IQ is beginning to soar, and I have been working in the bullpen preparing new tricks for when the time is right.
Last but not least, I miss my grandparents dearly. If you didn't know, I have dedicated this season to them after their passing this past fall. It has been devastating not getting a phone call after an away game hearing, “You go, J,” and “I am so proud of you, baby.” Moreover, not seeing them sitting in their favorite spots under the tree overlooking Duke Softball Stadium during home games is tough. Dealing with grief is a strange journey, and exhausting. I have to remind myself each day I just need to look up to the sky instead of in front of me. I know they are still proud of me no matter what, and I still have to continue to make them proud.