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UofL Softball Letter

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To all of the University of Louisville Softball Players,

I am honored to have witnessed you all play your hearts out for these past two months at Ulmer Stadium. Even though your season was cut short, you all have taught me that perseverance and the willpower to win will result in great things. You have no idea how much you’ve impacted my life and how much you all are inspirations. It’s hard to remember what it was like before I was introduced to the wonderful world of UofL softball.

My first ever softball game was when you beat UK at Ulmer in front of a record-setting crowd. My mom, little brother and I got to the game during the 5th inning. Not knowing much about softball at all, we looked at the scoreboard thinking there were nine innings in softball because that’s how many spaces were there. We had to stand on the berm, so we couldn’t see a whole lot but cheered when necessary. With my little brother, Grayson running around and my mom telling him, “Five more minutes until we’re leaving,” close to five times, the game was over. Baffled, we realized there’s only seven innings in softball, not nine. My favorite part of that night was getting to meet women’s basketball players Becky Burke and Monique Reid, not realizing that UofL softball would soon take over my life.

But it really all started with Shoni Schimmel, my favorite women’s basketball player. I turned into an even bigger fan after reading her and Jude’s article in a UofL magazine. I follow Shoni on Twitter and found out that Jenn was her girlfriend. I then found out Jenn was a softball player and thought the best way to see Shoni would be at a softball game. The next home game we went to was when you played against Rutgers. We sat in the section on the right side of home plate if you’re facing the field and then walked in Shoni. She sat a few rows behind us. From that point on, we always excitedly sat in that section in the first few rows and Shoni always sat close behind. Naturally, my mom and I would always cheer extra hard for Jenn and that is why I made her a poster for sadly, the last game, creating the ESPN acronym as, “Extra Special Player JeNn” because she is an extra special player in my heart and feels like an older sister to me.

Two weeks and three home games later, we were ready to cheer you on versus USF. After memorizing names and numbers, I was ready to be the perfect and loudest spectator, especially since the game was going to be broadcast on ESPNU. My birthday was two days before and I knew this game was going to be some sort of a birthday present. With four men’s and two women’s basketball players sitting right behind me, I could tell it was going to be a great night. The 4-1 victory in the first game was impressive, but the 9-0 shutout was the birthday present I was hoping for. I started to get a little anxious when it was scoreless leading into the 4th inning, but that changed when I saw that the bases were loaded and fellow duPont Manual Crimson, Jordan Trimble was up to bat. Being the fan that never sits down and is always cheering, my mother looked over at me saying, “She’s gonna get a grand slam. I’m calling it right now.” After two strikes, I really got nervous. But when Jordan hit that ball, we all knew it was a grand slam. “What I say?! What I say?!” my mom yelled, high-fiving me numerous times. If that game had any preview of what’s in store for my sixteenth year, it’s going to be the best year ever.

Sadly, the next game I went to was Senior Day. I couldn’t believe the regular season was almost over. I had just gotten into softball only a few weeks before! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet you all after your 3-0 victory over Georgetown and getting autographs and pictures. You all seem like really amazing people. But off to the Big East Tournament you went. I remember panicking when I found out that you played UCONN while I was still in school. I was restless for the last hour and a half of school but was relieved when I checked Twitter as soon as the bell rang that you had won 8-0, which was your twenty-third shutout of the season. Then there was the championship game versus Notre Dame. Yes, I did yell at you through the TV when you were down 3-0, but I couldn’t stay upset for long. Another rule I did not yet know about was extra innings. I would soon find out because of Jordan Trimble. Already freaking out about not knowing how the game was going to play out, I screeched, “JORDAN!” scaring the crap out of my brother while bursting into tears of joy when she got the walk-off home run, winning the Big East tournament. I promptly updated my Facebook status with JORDAN TRIMBLE JUST WON THE BIG EAST TOURNAMENT!!!!!!! DUPONT MANUAL CRIMSON RAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That explained the rule of extra innings. After you score, you win. Yay!

As you can tell, UofL softball has become a bit of an obsession. I value getting to know your names, where you’re from, different statistics, etc. I follow you all on Twitter and love to see your interactions with fans and with each other. Believe it or not, you’ve actually helped me with my schoolwork. In my English class, my teacher would give me a list of twenty words that I had to memorize the definition of for an upcoming vocabulary quiz. To memorize the words, I would look up the definition and then put the word in a sentence. Almost all of the sentences had something to do with UofL, whether the sentence was about softball, certain players or some other UofL sport. I had a five question vocabulary quiz worth a hundred points and I couldn’t decide between two words that went with the final question. The word I needed had to do with loving someone and then it hit me. The word I needed was “purport” because I remembered the sentence I had made. “Dexter purports his love for Tori by asking her to marry him.” “Purport” being the answer allowed me to earn 100% on the vocabulary quiz. My percentage in English rose from 93% to 94% because of Tori’s engagement.

A few sentences out of the one hundred I created were “Jenn was not caught purloining second base versus Georgetown.” “Katie’s grip on the bat was unusually flaccid.” and “They reached an impasse when they were down 5-1 to Tennessee.” Purloin means to steal, flaccid means not firm, and impasse means a predicament affording no obvious escape. My favorite sentence I came up with used the word “non sequitur” meaning a statement that is not clearly related to anything previously said. “Caralisa was talking about Seton Hall when Taner threw in some non sequitur about her puppy, Drizzy.”

Because of all of you and your impact on my life, I really want to learn how to play softball. Sadly, I cannot find a “Softball for Dummies” or an “Idiot’s Guide to Softball” book at the library, but I’m sure there are other books that should be just as helpful. You all have made my last two months of school a whole lot better. I’m sure Jordan can tell you that Manual is not a walk in the park. Stress had become a major factor in my life, but looking forward to watching you play in person or looking at Twitter updates of your games made me feel better. You’re like the older sisters I’ve always wanted. I’ve always wanted a close-knit group of friends who will be there for me through thick and thin like you all seem to be for each other. Even though the season’s over; your lives are just beginning. Softball is just a stepping stone into something greater. Again, I want to thank you for your efforts and turning this season and my life into something magical. I can’t wait to come to every home game at Ulmer next year. GO CARDS!

Love,
Amari Dryden




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