Monday, April 4, 2011

"Chase the Dream"

So I’ve decided to help my friend Karen out on the Blog front. After promising her on spring break that I’d write an entry, I’ve finally held up my end of the deal. And after losing draft one of the blog to a computer malfunction, here’s round two…

Karen has done a great job thus far keeping readers updated on games, stories and highlights so hopefully, I can offer a little different perspective.

I know its cliché, but it honestly feels like just yesterday that we began day one of practice. These last 16 games have flown by. They’ve presented themselves with plenty of challenges, excitement, pressure situations and of course, lots and lots of fun. Maybe it’s because a record of 12-4 is WAYYYYY better than our record of 4-11 at this time last year, but I’m convinced it’s more than a record that defines our team and the fun that we have.

The 2011 Blugolds have already proved to be way different than last year’s group. For one, we started this year off in the Rosemount dome instead of the beach in Florida. And since softball is a game of adaptations, it was only fitting that we start our year off having to adapt to a new playing surface and a few new rules. We were tested right away with St. Thomas and BV and started a new tradition of finding a way to win close games. At this point, our defense was struggling but our offense and pitching were on fire.

By the time we got to Arizona, we couldn’t keep our excitement in. Maintaining our focus was a test during practice, especially with the pigeon incident right before hand, but somehow we managed to get things accomplished. Overall, as a player, I was happy with our performance in the desert and could chat about the games in further detail but I’ll keep it to a final thought. Although I know we could’ve come home 10-0, there’s no doubt in my mind that those close games will continue to help us respond to future losses and with our tough WIAC conference.

Aside from testing our skills, the trip definitely tested our patience. As I’m sure our parents and coaches can attest to, having 20, 18+ year old girls together for about 24 hours a day for an entire week is no easy task. Add in the mix of coaches, parents, buses not arriving on time, 3 mini vans and coach’s “ghetto ride” for transport and you’re pretty much setting yourself up for chaos. Never the less, I’m proud to say that the trip went relatively glitch and drama free and we’re all still speaking to one another! …although I’m pretty sure this is the first year that someone voluntarily left Robin’s van J

When we got back, we found ourselves back in the gym…weird. Frustrating too, but we managed to find a way to continue to prepare for our “weather permitting” game against #4 ranked Luther. After yet another adaptation of having to travel to Iowa instead of a home opener on Gelein, we were prepared. We knew we had to bring our “A” game, but we also knew that they weren’t going to know what hit them once we arrived. Game one started with us coming out on fire scoring two runs and holding them scoreless in the first. In the 2nd inning we found ourselves victim of the “one bad inning” that softball often presents and were in a 5-2 hole. A stellar performance by freshmen pitcher “Ruegy” kept our hopes alive but we couldn’t get the big hit and found ourselves with a tally in the loss column.

Game two was very similar in a lot of respects. We came out and scored right away as the visiting team and then after inning two, were down 5-1. But with some top notch pitcher defense, errorless defense by the rest of us, a homerun by Jess Freagon (my roommate!) and of course a huge GRAND SLAM by Nikki Bromelkamp (MY OTHER ROOMMATE!!!) and we were up 6-5 with 6 outs to go! After that, we couldn’t be stopped. Emma Wishau dominated the next 2 innings, giving up just two singles to a dominating Luther offense, and we had our 12th win of the season. Easier said than done, I know. But there’s much more than we can take from that 2nd game besides the win.

I want to reflect on the emotion after the Luther game. For those who know me, I’m usually not the most serious of people, but I am a very passionate person and every once in a while I have my moments. Yesterday’s win was one of those times where your personal performance or the score of the first game momentarily didn’t matter. We had just come from 4 runs down, against the #4 ranked team in the country, and we acted like it. Smiles were from ear to ear, hugs were all around and our sense of accomplishment and belief was sky high. We knew that we could do it, but we had just proved it. At that moment, looking around at my teammates, it made me realize once again why we all wear the uniform. You could see the unmistakable love and joy in our faces, the look in our eyes that explains why we take the field every day. We play the game we love, and we truly love the game we play.

Until next time,

Emily Muller-#20

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