Hello, loyal readers. I assure you the lack of blog posts has not been from a lack of trying. Spring semester is working its hardest to get the best of this senior.
Today I want to tell you all a story of our midweek this past week. We loaded up the buses Wednesday morning and began making our way to Florence, Alabama to play the Crimson Tide.
The idea was that we would play at a neutral location so that families who do not live near a college softball team could have the chance to watch a good ballgame.
About 30 minutes out from the park, J.J. Dillingham called the police department of Florence to let them know we were here. That is when two motorcycles came and escorted us to the field. Cars began pulling over, and we stopped for no red lights. We felt like royalty.
When we pulled into the field over two hours before game time, the park was already full. Mostly crimson sprinkled here and there with purple surrounded the park. We were met with some young Alabama fans who wanted to give us high fives as we walked into the park.
I smiled at one young girl and told her she could cheer for us too if she wanted. She giggled and gave a sheepish, “Okay” in response.
Another young girl wore a purple travel ball shirt as she stood off to the side with her dad. I walked over and knelt down. “Now you are wearing the right color!!” She smiled as her dad told her, “I told you!”
We warmed up and played a full seven under the watchful eyes of nearly three thousand softball fans. Yes, some were Alabama fans, and some were Lipscomb fans. But everyone there was a fan of the game of softball. It was an incredible evening to be a part of.
After the game ended we made our way over to an empty field. Down the first base side, the Alabama players signed autographs. Down the first base side, we did the same.
While their line may have been a little longer, we still signed autographs for the girls wearing crimson and hounds tooth. Most of them did not care who was wearing what jersey. They cared that we were college softball players, and they want to be where we are one day.
Last year when we played in Knoxville, I wrote about the warm nostalgia I felt as I warmed up in the bullpen to little eyes watching me through the fence. This week while we played in Florence, I felt a very similar feeling.
As we left the field I couldn’t help but smile. The joy in the faces of those girls as they waited in the cold just for a signature was a gentle reminder of why we really play the game and how lucky we are to what we love at this level.
As I finish, I am thankful for the city of Florence and the wonderful hospitality they showed to us Wednesday afternoon. I am thankful for the little girls who were so excited to sit with their moms and dads and watch us play. And I am thankful for the community of people who love the game of softball. What an amazing thing to be a part of.