April 19, 2014
Junior shortstop Maddie O’Brien continues her blog during the 2014 season here on Seminoles.com. She will share the insights, joys and challenges that the team experiences as they pursue their goal of advancing to the Women’s College World Series.
Hey Noles! A lot has happened since the last blog, but here is the latest and greatest about your Seminole SoftBALLERS…
Visiting Our Seminole Sister
During our trip to the University of North Carolina we made a couple of stops. We left campus on Friday, March 28, and drove about five hours until we reached just outside of Atlanta. Since it was a long drive to North Carolina we decided to break it up by staying in a hotel for the night. When we woke up Saturday we felt refreshed and ready to take on another six hour bus ride to visit our Seminole sister, Taylor Foster.
As the bus pulled up to the long drive of Taylor’s house we were greeted by several of her family members. The team hustled inside because it was raining outside, but as soon as we got into the house we saw our ray of sunshine, Taylor. We were welcomed with warm hugs and yummy food. Some of us even got a special tour of Taylor’s room! I think one of my favorite things about Taylor’s room was the beautiful canvas paintings hung on her wall. Several members from her church did some renovating of Taylor’s dining room to turn it into a nice cozy bedroom for Taylor. They re-did the dining room area because Taylor needs to be downstairs and I have to say they did a great job! She now has a teal and gray color scheme and a picture of her and country music star Luke Bryan together at one of his concerts hanging above her bed. I believe it is safe to say that the pictures of Taylor and Luke Bryan are her favorite thing about her new room.
While we visited with Taylor we munched on some goodies that her family had set up for us. Redshirt freshman Jessica Burroughs was cracking me up with the way she kept going up to get more “Cheese Straws.” Until that day I had never even heard of Cheese Straws, but apparently they are one of JB’s favorites. When Jessica asked Taylor if they were homemade, Taylor made a weird face and said, “I don’t even know what cheese straws are.” LOL! We all had a good laugh at that.
Taylor truly is the epitome of a fighter. She may not always feel good, but she would never let anyone know. The entire time we were there she was in pain and fighting falling asleep, but she kept her spirits up and kept talking with us. She kept saying that she did not want to fall asleep on us, and it was so cute watching her try to stay awake just because we were there. We all told her that she could totally take a nap if she wanted to, but you could tell she was not going to let the sleepiness get to her while her big sisters were there.
When it was time to go we all said our goodbyes and tried to be strong for Taylor. Even though we are a tough group of young women when it comes to softball, we have become connected with Taylor and it is never easy to say bye to her. Getting to know Taylor has allowed us to appreciate the moments with her and with each other. Taylor has taught us all to embrace each other and to love every moment of life, though the ups and the downs. She has such an optimistic and brave charisma about her that each of us feed off of. It really is amazing how much she has changed all of our lives, as well as inspired us to love life. Also…if you did not know, we swept the University of North Carolina in a three-game series. Love you Tay!
Spearing the Gators & Paint It Pink Day
After beating the Gators in an extra-inning battle we gained some serious confidence. Going into that game on April 2 we knew we had a chance to beat them. In the past it has always been a dog fight at their park and this time we came out on top. It was a total team effort to get the victory in extra innings against the Gators and I know I was so proud of my Seminole Family. #2D4J
Our next opponent has always been a nuisance. Every year the Maryland Terrapins have been scrappy and given us some trouble, but not this year. We took care of business and celebrated Paint It Pink Day with two victories followed by getting the sweep on Sunday.
Hosting Paint It Pink has been something special our team has done for a while now. It has always been special to me, but it never really affected me directly until a couple of years ago. My neighbor, and a good family friends of ours Kim Ford, was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer in 2011. She, nor anyone close to her, would have ever thought she would be the one to be diagnosed with such a thing. Kim has always been very active and a very healthy person, but sometimes things like this are unpreventable.
Nevertheless, Kim decided that she was going to attack her cancer early and beat it, and she did. Just a little over a year later Kim was cancer free and ready to conquer anything that came her way. I am so proud to call Kim not only one of our family’s closest friends, but also and most importantly, a breast cancer survivor.
New Logo Fashion Show
On Friday April 11, Lacey Waldrop and I were selected to participate in a fashion show that was conducted for the unveiling of the University’s new logo. We wore two different models of what our softball jerseys would look like for next year and they were so cool. Alex Kossoff and Macey Cheatham also were selected to wear the new soccer jerseys since soccer was out of town.
We had so much walking the runway in front of a big crowd in Downtown Tallahassee at the Block Party and it was an honor for all of us to be a part of the new Seminole tradition.
Snow in April? Our Last ACC Road Trip
On April 12 we headed to South Bend, Indiana to take on Notre Dame. With two very competitive and exhausting games we split with the Fighting Irish. Although the weather was warm on Sunday during our doubleheader, we were cancelled in game three due to very cold weather conditions. Since we could not play, we decided to drive to Chicago, Illinois to do some sightseeing and shopping. What a cool city! The weather was not great to be walking around in, but we will do anything for some good shopping.
Some of our team headed downtown to the Art and Architecture area of Millennium Park to see the famous Cloud Gate, a.k.a “the bean,” a mirrored structure that is made up of 168 stainless steel plates that are welded together. Some of us, who were totally interested in seeing what kind of shopping Chicago had to offer headed to Michigan Avenue. The stretch of all of the stores were located on this street called “The Magnificent Mile,” and it was magnificent. There was everything from Starbucks, Nike, Macy’s, to some very high end fashion stores like Burberry and Coach. It was funny because we all split up into a couple of groups to go shopping, but we all kept running into each other at certain stores, like Nike in particular.
For the group that was not interested in going shopping, there was an Aquarium to visit near the Navy Pier. It even started to snow on our way back to the bus, and by snow I mean freezing rain, but hey us Florida girls don’t know the difference. Ha ha! All in all, Chicago had so much to offer and we had a blast!
When we got back to our hotel in South Bend, Ind. it was actually snowing so Kelly Hensley, Bailey Schinella, and Macey Cheatham decided to recreate the snowman Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen and they nailed it. The very next day, Tuesday April 15, we headed to Pittsburgh, Pa. to get ready for a doubleheader versus Pitt. As we were about to head to dinner in downtown it started snowing again! We all ran outside to take pictures and selfies in the snow because c’mon how often do we get to see that, and two days in a row!
Although it was bitter outside, the snow did not stop us from taking a little batting practice that night. We drove to the Pitt gym and hit in their indoor batting cages for an hour. The pitchers on the other hand decided to participate in some gymnastics and track and field shenanigans down on the indoor turf field.
Our team is all about FUN and that has definitely contributed to many of our successes this year. On Wednesday we won both games versus Pitt in 42 degree weather and were eager to get back to the Sunshine State! This weekend we take on Syracuse in a three game series and are celebrating Military Appreciation Day on Saturday as well as hosting our annual Moe’s Home Run Derby on Sunday after the game.
Thank you to our Troops and veterans for all that you do and for protecting our Country as well as Happy Easter.
Until next time…Go Noles!