For the love of softball

Chaminade womens softball in a huddle at the UH tournament last season in November.

Photo by Jay Metzger

Chaminade womens softball in a huddle at the UH tournament last season in November.

By Sierra Mendiola, Staff Writer

Last season, the Chaminade softball team opened its season in a doubleheader against Gustavus Adolphus in front of a whopping 25 people.

But to us, the softball team, the fact that we play in the middle of the island during rush hour with no fan support in the longest season of all the sports, we play the game because we love it.

Life as a college softball player is tough; practicing an average of ten hours a week (without including double headers on the weekends), basically not having a weekend to rest, and getting very little acknowledgment.

Since we don’t have our own softball field at Chaminade, we practice at multiple fields throughout the season: Palolo Valley District Park, Wilson Elementary, and when we are desperate, Koko Head District Park. I’d like to say it doesn’t throw off our game, but in a sense it does, simply because some fields don’t have the resources we need to have a good, efficient practice.

Although we practice at Palolo, our “home” field where we play all of our games is held in Waipio at C.O.R.P. (Central Oahu Recreational Park).

Practice in Palolo is brutal; frustrating; rubbing your hands in the dirt of the infield and accidentally picking up small remains of cat poop, finding food wrappers and other unmentionable wrappers, and having residents walk through the field during our practices is very distracting. Sharp objects flood the field in the uncut grass of the outfield: broken glass, cut-up soda cans, and metal or plastic pieces.

We share the field with rugby players, soccer teams, little kids baseball, outside league softball, football teams, ultimate frisbee players, and dogs. It is rare when we get the field all to ourselves (maybe three days in the entire season).

Softball is the most time-consuming sport when it comes to the amount of games being played in a season. On average, we play about 45 games a season. Most are doubleheaders. That is the most games played in a season throughout all of the sports at Chaminade.

Sierra Mendiola laying down a bunt at CORP against Cal Baptist last season.
Photo by Jay Metzger
Sierra Mendiola laying down a bunt at CORP against Cal Baptist last season.

From the start of the school year, our softball team begins conditioning and workouts, which is sometimes two-a-days. This goes on for the first couple of months until we start actual games. Then we practice at most, six days a week. Our season goes till the end of the school year.

When most college students begin their weekend on Fridays, we are preparing ourselves for game day. This means sleeping early and no late nights.

Growing up, I was always taught that the night before the game is spent at home and in bed by 10 p.m. at the latest. Sleepovers and going out with friends were never an option. A lot of time and sacrifices need to be made being a softball player, let alone a student athlete.

For the amount that we practice, we still seem to fall short at times.

The last winning season in 2013, we had an overall record of 25-21. Since then, the past two seasons have been unfortunate with the combined overall record of 70 losses and only 19 wins.

But through it all, the scraped knees, dirty hands, and bruises, this game is all worth the sacrifices.