Yesterday, I had that familiar pit in my stomach, the one that always presents itself on days I know will end in physical and mental exhaustion. Testing day. This is the day where we have to prove to our coaches and each other that we worked hard this summer to keep up our strength and agility. The one thing I found myself repeating as my mantra was, “just try not to die Kiki, that would be super embarrassing.” Preparation never seems to be enough, and I am reminded why I am so grateful to be part of the UConn softball team. The tasks that once seemed so daunting were accomplished smoothly with the support and tenacity of my teammates. I was paired with one of our incoming freshman, Julie [Curran], and seeing the look of uncertainty on her face immediately took me back to my first testing days two years ago. I gave her knowledge that was instilled on me when I realized I was in over my head, “you’d be surprised how far your body can be pushed.” And together, as a unit, we pushed each other to that limit and finished our circuit.
These ethics of hard work that we are learning completely dismiss the notions that athletes have it easy, that we are given everything right off the bat and it is because of that that we succeed. This year, the softball team, along with many other UConn athletic teams, was presented with the challenge to earn their gear. Unlike past years where we are given our clothing on day one, the girls have been carrying a bag around with practice clothes because our new outfits are locked away in our locker room. They may be behind locked doors but they are not out of reach as we are the ones that control our outcome. We are not taking this challenge lightly and we are going to work hard and prove that we deserve to wear the UConn name proudly across our chests.
With our fall schedule coming up, I anticipate this drive for success will carry over on the field for a successful and high-energy eight games. One thing that has been incredibly consistent over the past couple years is our ability to come together as a team, on and off the field. We have found that amazing balance between business and pleasure, nothing ever inhibits our ability to be competitive teammates and great friends. Once we are able to harness that energy and use it positively, we are going to be a force to be reckoned with.