Saturday, May 9, 2009

Final Day With Softball at the A-10 Championships

I promised myself that I wouldn’t get all sappy whenever I wrote the final blog of the week. But, after Coach DeVos got me a little choked up on air today, I just have to let my thoughts come out.

Only three teams each year in the NCAA get to end the season with a win. Sadly, Charlotte won’t have the opportunity to be one of them this year, but what a great year it was.

Single-game records, season records, career records, a fourth straight thirty win season. What more could you ask for? I can think of a lot more and let’s face it, if you get to interact with this team at all, they fit the majority of those things that you would ask for.

This senior class is certainly a special one. They’ll be missed by Niner Nation. Seniors always come and go but there are people who always leave an indelible mark on others and for this class, leaving a mark hits the nail on the head.

For some on the team, maybe things haven’t gone as they thought they would. But, you can always see a smile on their face and they can just brighten a room by simply being there (If you’re looking for a referencing point look no further than #7).

For others, it’s personality both on and off the field that gathers attention. Keri’s shimmy and shake down the first base line after a walk, Cee talking to herself at the plate, Jenny and Alyssa just being…well, Jenny and Alyssa. And the two Californians are well…let’s just say they are “so California.”

Yet for others, just the pure joy of watching them do what they do best can make you just shake your head. Whitney’s ridiculous speed down the first base line on a grounder, Serena’s clutch hitting, Sarah’s natural ability to swipe bases and Emily just taking over games so often with a dominating array of pitches that keep pitchers guessing, are just a few of the things that just make you shake your head.

Traveling with an all female team can be a challenge, but this group really made me feel like family, even though I’ve only been on the road with them since Tuesday.

Lou Holtz has a book called Wins, Losses and Lessons. Being a Notre Dame football fan, I of course read it. I was reminded of the book title today because this team had its share of both wins and losses. We celebrate the wins and are disappointed with the losses, but for me it’s the lessons of being around such a fine group that puts the biggest smile of all on my face. Of course, I enjoyed my 50 win seasons as an undergrad and I often remind myself of the perfect games and simple wins following a 49er loss, but I wouldn’t trade this 33 win bunch for the world.

To the seniors: In the immortal words of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, “Good luck, goodbye.” (The song’s named Bobby Jean if you don’t believe me, it’s on the Born in the USA CD.) Like I said, Niner Nation will miss you.

For the undergrads, keep busting your tails, you all deserve nothing less than the best.

Until next year, wear green and go NINERS!

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