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Trish Parks' Son Inspires Her Professional Softball Journey

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(Photo by Jade Hewitt via Athletes Unlimited)

Trish Parks’ road to becoming a professional softball player was hardly conventional.

Parks, the mother of a soon-to-be three-year-old boy, became the 57th athlete in the Athletes Unlimited player pool after Aleshia Ocasio took a leave of absence for a family emergency during the middle of the league’s inaugural season. The former Cal State Fullerton standout was more than thrilled to become a part of Athletes Unlimited when she was contacted about the opportunity.

“I’ve always dreamed of being a professional softball player,” Parks told Softball America during a phone interview. “The fact that I actually got to live out that dream, I don’t even have the right words to even express how I feel. That’s how grateful and blessed I am.”

Early in her college softball career, Parks found success as a freshman at Arizona, but decided to transfer closer to home to play for Cal State Fullerton. Parks became a mother to her son, Kaysen, while at Cal State Fullerton, but she managed to return to the softball field for the Titans after giving birth.

Maintaining a balance between academics, athletics and motherhood certainly pushed Parks to her limits, but she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“He gets to see me continue to live my dream,” Parks said about her son. “I want that for him, I want him to see me live out my dream. To let him know that whatever happens in life, whatever tries to knock you down or create doubt that you can’t do something, to keep striving because you can get there.”

Parks’ time on site with Athletes Unlimited marked the longest time that she and her son had been separated in his life. The two tried to make up for it with daily FaceTime calls to see one another.

“I have to instill in my son for him to believe in himself,” she said. “One thing as an athlete I for sure need to teach my son is to make sure he believes in himself no matter what he does in life.”

Before receiving the invitation to join Athletes Unlimited, Parks was training to become a firefighter and was looking for a job in social work, the field she studied in college. Now that the Athletes Unlimited season is over, she will shift her focus to the firefighting fitness test, which she feels ready for thanks to her time spent playing professional softball this month.

In fact, if you ask Parks, she feels ready for whatever will come her way next thanks to her time in softball.

“Softball has shaped me into the person I am today,” Parks said. “It got me through college. I have a master’s degree because of softball. I’ve learned tremendous leadership skills, learned how to be a team player. It just shows that your work ethic in softball can be taken into other areas of your life.”

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