Former Lipscomb softball player Bridgette Begle has been keeping busy. She has been working as a clerk at a law firm in Houston and also has spent time in Europe as well as traveling out West beyond her home state of Texas. In August Begle will return to the classroom where she will pursue a law degree at the University of Houston. She has been in Nashville this week for a wedding shower for one of her former teammates, but found some time to talk with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play softball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played softball from 2010 to 2014.
"Kristin Ryman was the head coach. Lexi Myers was an assistant my freshman and sophomore years. Paige Cassady was an assistant my junior year. J.J Dillingham and Megan Rhodes Smith were the assistants my senior year."
Why did you decide to leave Houston and be a part of the Lipscomb softball program?
"I was actually committed to play for a junior college in Brenham, Texas which was much closer to home. But then I got a call from Coach Peck (Ryman). She said, `we have a little bit of money for you for a scholarship'. She wanted to know if I would like to visit campus.
"At the very least it was a free trip to Nashville. But I absolutely fell in love. One of the best things the coaches do here is put on a great visit. I got to see the town and I got to see the school. I only got to meet one player (Bree Thurman) but I was sold."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"Getting the at-large bid to the NCAA Regional in Knoxville my senior year was probably the best moment of my life. That was the dream of all of us and we got to watch it come true in Knoxville.
"My dream coming in my freshman year was to make it to the NCAA Tournament. Two years out of my four years at Lipscomb we had finished second in the (Atlantic Sun Tournament) and had to watch the first place team get the trophy and the bid.
"We fell short in the conference tournament my senior year. But we got another chance and we played like there was nothing to lose. That was probably the most fun softball I ever played. The NCAA Tournament was like the bonus round. Anything I did well during the tournament was a bonus. We weren't even supposed to be there.
"I knew I was coming into a really good program. Lipscomb had just come off of an NCAA Regional In (Tuscaloosa) Alabama. I always wanted to play Division I, but not big D-I. I wanted to play for a mid-major team. I knew we had a chance of going to the NCAA Tournament and just having a chance to work for it and earn it made it worth it.
"We blinked and we were out of the A-Sun Tournament losing our first two games. I didn't cry. I thought either I am done with my softball career or I am coming into the biggest weekend of my softball career. They were two complete extremes. I didn't allow myself to make a decision about my emotions. I was going to wait for the selection show. We had worked our butts off all year and that translated into the at-large bid."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Probably my teammates. My class was very close. There were five of us who started together - Ashley Anderson, Haley Elliott, Rena' Cothron, me and Kristen Sturdivant. We had people come in and out of the class, but we were the five that stuck it out all the way through.
"We were all so different. Ashley was the pitcher. Kristen was the power-hitter/first baseman, Haley was a catcher. Rene' and I were infielders and contact hitters. None of us were exactly the same player on the field. We kind of completed each other.
"We were so close off the field that it brought us that much closer on the field."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"My freshman year was my favorite year non-softball-wise because everything was so new.
"The five of us (Anderson, Sturdivant, Cothron, Begle and Elliott) could do anything we wanted and it was going to be epic.
"We were `Alpha Sigma Softball' in the dodgeball competition. We were mimicking the social clubs. We had shirts with the Alpha and Sigma Greek letters along with a softball. We carried binders. We wore our hair down and walked out on the court to Miranda Lambert's `Only Prettier' and strutted around. Everyone loved it. The social club girls told us it was pretty funny. We won our first round, but a Harry Potter group put us out.
"We would play stupid games. We would go outside and sit on the steps at Elam where we would put water in our mouths and the first person who spit it out from laughing was the loser. We could make that completely fun."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"The relationships I had with the people here. The fact that I wanted to come back this week and say hi to everybody was huge. I still talk with professors.
"I came into school not knowing what I wanted to do at all. My junior year, when I took a communication law class, I decided this is it.
"All my professors, coaches and my teammates helped me through school. We had a bond. I will make an effort, until the day I die, to continue to have these relationships because they mean that much to me.
"I went pretty far from home to school. I think people thought I would come back to Houston and maybe hang out with my high school friends and start my Texas life again.
“But my heart is still in Nashville. Anyone will tell you that. I want to end up in Nashville whether it is five years or 10 years from now. We will see what happens but that is what I want now. There is definitely a Nashville life for me and a Houston life."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"I have several - Alan Griggs, Alan Bradshaw, Jimmy McCollum and Mark McGee.
"Alan Griggs is my man. I still talk with him. I give him a monthly email telling him where I am and letting him know about school.
"He genuinely cared about me as a person. I would sit in his office and talk about softball and what I needed to vent about in my life. He would sit there and listen to me. He was my buddy. You don't get that at big schools.
"He expected perfection and he did not accept anything less. By perfection, I mean he expected my best. If he knew I turned in something to him that I did last minute he was not going to accept it and he was going to give me the grade I deserved.
"If you got an A in his class you deserved that A. You did everything you could to get one.
"I went to Dr. Bradshaw's house two or three times for study groups before tests in physics. He would make snacks and sit there and teach us using the chalk board in his kids' playroom. That was awesome. What other school has professors who do that?
"I had Dr. McGee for a lot of classes. I loved ethics classes. I had him for Media Ethics and for the pop culture class. In the classroom he let us think and say what we wanted. He let us get there. He would hand us a picture and let us mold it in our brain. Was this picture ethical for the front page? He didn't give us an answer right away, but would go around the class and listen to what everyone had to say before giving the answer. He let us hear the points of view of the class.
"Dr. McCollum might be the most perfect man. I don’t think I have ever heard him say, `um'. He really thinks before he talks. He would always ask me about softball. I love that man. He cared about me. He is a good man."
Where do you live now?
"I live in Houston. Texas."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I will be attending law school at the University of Houston. I start classes August 24. I have been working at an employment law firm where I have been a clerk and doing things like filing."
My email address is email@example.com