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Lady Hawks show a burn to succeed

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By Kassie Stanfill

Many coaches dream for their players to have a burning desire for the game they play. As a player, I had that burn from grade school all the way through my years at the University of Louisville. My life was softball, my desire was to beat the best, so I can be the best. Secretly, I wondered, did anyone else have that burn like me?

Since November, I have been conditioning the Lady Hawks softball team, and for all the parents and fans, it is great to know their fire is burning brightly. After speaking with Head Coach Mielle DiStefano, you knew the flame was ignited by her love for the game and desire for the 2010 team to succeed. The two words the girls are not allowed to use this year, without making a dollar donation to the booster club, has set the blaze for the team.

After the 10-15 2009 season, the players are passionately working to make sure this season is no repeat. Oh, the two words, well I can’t repeat them either, or I have to pay up as well, and I’m out of college and trying to save money. 

As I started conditioning for the Lady Hawks, I stared around the athletic facility at the eyes that glared right back at me. I have faced some of the best pitchers the NCAA had to offer, but now was my biggest challenge, as coach and not the player. This was a new world for me, but  the girls’ desire to become better teammates made this easy on me. Some knew me from my Louisville days, as I was a teammate of former Lady Hawk Tesha Paysen, while others did not.

The first few days were rough on them, but they pressed on to reach a new level of intensity. Each girl who participated can proudly say they made it through two months of boot camp.

Working with these ladies has made me look at softball a different way. I saw the game through 35 sets of eyes, whether it be the 12-year-olds trying something new, to the upperclassmen pushing themselves to be a better team.

I see girls who are trying their best, with nothing to lose.

In college, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and you have to look after yourself. I have seen girls be there for each other and push themselves. I see a team that has the highest admiration for their coach who puts them first and does whatever it takes to make them better. I have met parents in this community who are proud of their daughters and their teammates.

This program has a burning desire and I’m ready to help them rise from 2009’s ashes back to the top where they belong.