Caroline Mason Simpson was known for her ability to not only hit a softball with authority but also for the strength and accuracy of her arm as she made throws from right field. Caroline is a frequent spectator at Lipscomb softball games at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. She spent some time this week talking with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play softball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played from fall 2008 through the spring of 2012. I graduated from Lipscomb in 2013.
"Kristin Ryman was the head coach and Lexi Myers Shrout was an assistant coach."
Why did you choose Lipscomb?
"My family. I am a huge person in terms of family orientation. I love my family.
"My nephew, Trey Mason, was born my senior year of high school. I couldn't imagine going away to school and not seeing him grow up. He is the son of my brother, James. He never missed a home game while I was at Lipscomb.
"I loved the campus. I met with Candace McQueen. She was the Dean of Education at that time. She was kind and so willing to help. I knew that Lipscomb was going to be a good fit for me educationally.
"I loved the team when I met them. They were very sarcastic and outgoing. I knew I was going to fit right in."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"Probably it would be practicing softball with Kristen Sturdivant. She is my best friend to this day. She was my hitting partner.
"We would have life talks and crack up at hitting practice. It would drive Coach Peck (Ryman) crazy. We would laugh and have a good old time. Usually we talked about everything from God to school to family and friends or what was happening in practice. Our team was very sarcastic. We laughed about everything.
"In games it was getting the walk-off hit (in the ninth, with two outs and runners on second and third with a single down the left field line to bring home Mollie Mitchell with the game-winning run for a 7-6 win in nine innings) my sophomore year in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to beat UAB in the NCAA Regionals."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
Three people - Whitney Kiihnl, Kristen Sturdivant and Kelsey Cartwright. Whitney is the most humble player I have ever met. She is by far the best pitcher I have ever played behind and you would have never known that by talking to her.
“She always relaxed me with our inside jokes during a game if I was stressed out or upset. She would just smile and say `it's okay girl’ and that always reminded me that it was just that ... okay. It was something so simple but early in my career at Lipscomb I needed to just relax and play the game I love. Whitney played a huge role all four years with my attitude during games and reminded me to just keep it simple … which to an athlete is everything. Overthinking everything will ruin you.
“Kristen was my hitting partner who helped me adjust my swing and brightened my spirits every day. She would go hit with me late at night if one of us needed to take a break from studying. She would help me with hitting when I needed extra practice or another watchful eye. She was irreplaceable in my athletic career at Lipscomb in my eyes.
“Kelsey only played with me for one year, but we had played with/against each other for many years. We bounced off of each other well, protected each other and held each other accountable on the field. We knew that one of us would get the job done and we had no problem going and telling each other what we did wrong or how we could fix it.
“Being her outfield partner (myself in right field and her at second base) was the best year as an outfielder I had, in my opinion. Our communication was there and we knew where each other was at all times. I couldn't have asked for a better teammate and accountability partner athletically. Her father coached both of us so I knew when Kelsey was helping me it came from someone who had my best interests at heart and wanted me to succeed.”
What non-athletic memory stands out the most from your time at Lipscomb?
"One night they were having a social club rush. Some of us were on top of Johnson Hall and someone had purchased a slingshot for water balloons. So we got the water balloons out and used that slingshot to hit all of the social clubs during rush.
"They had no idea where it was coming from. They couldn't find us. It was hilarious. It was great."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"Praying …. praying constantly. That is what I do with my life daily with my family and work. I pray my way through any situation. I really think my prayer life is a huge outcome from what I experienced in college and the stepping stones I encountered.
"I had a professor, Ben May, who always talked about prayer. My mother had taught me my entire life if you want to get through something pray for the will of God. You don't pray for your will, you pray for his. You pray that you are within his will.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"Dr. Doy Hollman, an algebra teacher. Also Dr. Lynn Griffith and Dr. Kent Johnson in the kinesiology department.
"I liked Dr. Griffith because he was so up front. He just told is what he needed to know. That is how I teach. His tests were right to the point. He let us have it straight and told us what we needed to know and he was done.
"He also told us stories and they were great. He would have us laughing in class.
"Dr. Johnson was probably the most helpful in terms of me needing help and going to him. He would actually sit down and work with me. I had to retake one of his classes. He was so helpful the second time around in helping me realize what I wasn't connecting the first time.
"Dr. Hollman was great. He would always tell me `to use my algebra' when I went up to bat.
"He would come in and say "it is a beautiful day for algebra'. He had a stick made of cherry wood. One day he hit it on the board and it broke in half.
"He was so nice. He always tried to connect God to math which is really hard to do. But he would always find a way. He opened up class with a Bible verse every day and that set the tone for the class. That is not something you get at every university. That is something special about Lipscomb."
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I teach at Wilson Central High School in Lebanon, Tennessee. I teach ninth through 12th grades. I teach health and fitness, physical education, personal fitness and lifetime wellness. It was my first job after college and I am in my third year here."
Tell us about your family.
“I am happily married to a wonderful man named Allen Simpson. We have two boys. Parker is my stepson. He is four. I have a beautiful little boy, Mason, who has just turned eight months old.”
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.