Monthly Archives: October 2016
The #KyleSchwarber coming back from a knee injury storyline is getting a lot of coverage right now during the World Series. But I think I have a fastpitch softball story that can top it.
Taylor Danielson, whom I have written about before, hurt her knee playing high school softball back in the spring and wound up missing the whole summer. This would have been more worrisome since this was to be the summer between her junior and senior year, but fortunately she had already verballed to a college. (I won’t say which quite yet due to superstition, but check back in a couple of weeks.)
When the injury occurred she was told she wouldn’t get back on the field until 2017. While that is a good prognosis for an ordinary person, Taylor is hardly an ordinary player. She worked her butt off rehabbing her knee, and was finally cleared for limited action for the end of the fall ball season.
There were some caveats. No catching (she’s an awesome catcher), and while she could hit, she couldn’t run full out. No stretching a single into a double, or going from first to third. She was under strict orders to run base to base and that’s it – a shame since she has 2.8 speed from home to first.
Since she couldn’t run like she wanted, Taylor decided to address it her own way. The video shows how – she hit the ball so far she was able to jog her way around the bases. All of them.
Just goes to show where there’s a will there’s a way. And you can’t keep a great player down.
If you’ve been a regular Life in the Fastpitch Lane reader, you know I love inspirational stories about real softball players. Not just the ones who make all the headlines, but also those who you may not see on TV but inspire anyway.
(If you’re not a regular reader, be sure to search through some older posts!)
Today is a great example. I first met Kaylee Arendt when she played for me at 14U. She
actually didn’t show very well in her first day of tryouts, probably because she was nervous, but she really wanted to make the team so she came back the next day and made a great showing.
I had the pleasure of coaching her that season, and also working with her in private lessons. I found her to be a coach’s dream – engaged, driven and very coachable.
A couple of years later she started playing high school ball. The varsity coach there (who I am happy to report was finally let go this year) didn’t seem to agree with my assessment. Despite the fact that Kaylee had tremendous power and a great attitude, he flat out told her that she would never play varsity softball. She just wasn’t good enough and never would be, according to him.
That might have devastated a lot of players and cause them to leave the game. Not Kaylee. She did quit playing HS ball, but she continued to play during the summers. Her goal was to play in college.
As you can probably tell by the accompanying photo, that goal was achieved with the support of her parents Roger and Deanna. She played at another school her freshman year, and is now playing first base for Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Go Flying Dutchmen! (Unfortunately the roster hasn’t been updated yet.)
I heard she had a strong fall ball season, and I have no doubt she’ll be tearing it up come spring!
This is an important lesson for any softball player. Softball is a game of adversity and disappointment. Even when you’re doing well you’re often failing more than you succeed, especially at the plate. It takes a special kind of person to play this game at all. But if you believe in yourself, and work hard, you can overcome the obstacles that get in your way. That applies to life in general too, by the way.
Personally, I’m happy to see Kaylee doing so well, and I thank her mom Deanna for allowing me to share her story. If you’re a player who maybe didn’t make the team you wanted, or aren’t getting on the field as much as you would like, or have been told you don’t have what it takes, remember this story.
Don’t be defined by what others think. Just keep working and pursuing your goals. You may just surprise a lot of people, and wind up on the winning side after all.
With today being the last day of Women in Sports Week, it seemed like this would be a good way to finish it out – talking about opportunities for women in sports administration. Once the almost exclusive enclave of men, more women are now finding success off the field in sports. – Ken
Guest post by Ohio University’s Athletic Administration Program.
While men outnumber women in sports administration roles, Women’s Sports Week celebrates the females who are quickly moving into higher positions in the industry. With the fact that ESPN now has 48 female anchors, reporters, analysts, and contributors, they’re also paving the way for a new generation of younger women who want to hold professional positions in the industry.
Starting at the college level, intercollegiate athletics programs are experiencing an increased female presence. Of the 969 NCAA D1 head coaches for 2014-15, 40.2% are women with field hockey, lacrosse, equestrian, golf, and fast pitch softball leading the way. Keep in mind, however, that men coach over 43% of women’s teams while women coach only 3% of men’s teams.
One way to help increase female representation in athletic administration and professional roles is to provide these girls with successful role models like Mary Alice Hill, the first female Athletic Director in the country. She also played an instrumental role in obtaining the first NCAA scholarships for female athletes, 75 years after the NCAA was created.
To learn more about the growing female presence in the business sides of the sports industry, check out this visual resource created by Ohio University’s Athletic Administration program.
Guest post by Ohio University’s Athletic Administration Program.
As women’s sports gain more fans it isn’t surprising that just last year the women’s College World Series averaged almost 440,000 more viewers than the men’s College World Series. In celebration of the growing popularity of women’s sports, and Women’s Sports Week, here’s a look at the big impact women are making in athletics.
Girls’ participation in sports has grown an average of 50% a year over the last 5 years. In fact, there were over 364,000 high school girls participating in fast pitch softball during the 2014-2015 school year.
Athletic clothing and shoe companies have taken notice and have geared television campaigns specifically towards women for the first time. With half of shoppers on the NBA online site coming from the female population and sales of $5 billion on Nike’s women’s athletic wear in 2014, this group is clearly becoming powerful.
To learn more about the evolution of women’s sports, check out the visual resource below created by Ohio University’s Athletic Administration Program.