March 21, 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.
Tacky Tourists for the Win
Since we would be on the road for Spring Break we thought it would only be fitting for our themed travel to be “Tacky Tourists.” We left on Friday to travel to UVa in our normal FSU softball attire, but two days later on the trip from UVa to FGCU we were totally different people.
Some people weren’t sure what to wear to match the theme, but they pulled it off. A couple of the girls went to Goodwill and found some steals. Redshirt senior Jessica Nori found a colorful Hawaiian printed shirt and rocked her white Keds along with it. Redshirt freshman Jessica Burroughs and freshman Ellie Cooper went with tie-dye shirts. Junior Bailey Schinella and senior Courtney Senas were ready for the beach in their board shorts.
Once again, I think Coach Snider blew us all out of the water with his get-up. He wore a bright blue Hawaiian printed shirt, grey coaching shorts, high black socks with sandals and even threw in a fanny pack. I think he won. I have to say walking around in the airport in Hawaiian print shirts, khakis, straw hats and rocking the socks with sandals look did get us some interesting looks from people. No one knew who we were or why we were dressed so goofy, but it was so much fun.
Although it was weird leaving Virginia in shorts and a t-shirt because when we arrived there was snow on the ground. Freshman Lauren Harris was extremely excited about seeing snow and even snapped some pictures at the hotel Friday night. #FLgirlproblems. Let’s just say we definitely pulled off the “tacky” part out of Tacky Tourists.
Eating at the Waldrop’s
Before we headed down to Ft. Myers to take on Virginia Tech and Florida Gulf Coast, we stopped to eat at junior Lacey Waldrop’s house. We ate BBQ pork, chicken, mac n’ cheese, green beans and potato salad, which by the way, it was all homemade. YUM! I know a lot of my teammates partook in a second helping because it was that delicious.
Not only did Lacey’s parents spoil us with a home-cooked meal, but they also had homemade desserts out too. There was a carrot cake, chocolate sheet cake, and a pound cake with chocolate frosting on it. Are your mouths drooling yet? We all ate downstairs in their basement, which was more like an entertainment spot, and watched basketball, took goofy pictures of each other eating, and played with their dog, Lolli. I think all of us who are from Florida were amazed at how cool having a basement would be, where as to Lacey it was just like a normal TV room. A HUGE thanks to Chuck and Beth Waldrop, as well as to all of the family and friends who helped make an amazing dinner for us!
Although we enjoyed our time in Virginia, we were all eager to back to the warm weather. On Monday we went to the softball field at Florida Gulf Coast to get some practice in before our games against Virginia Tech on Tuesday, March 11. The weather was B-E-A-utiful. We got a round of batting practice in and some defensive reps before heading back to the hotel for a couple hours of down time.
Since it was Spring Break and we were in Ft. Myers, a lot of the girls brought their bathing suits just in case we might make it to the beach. Although it wasn’t the beach, some people caught some quality sun bathing and pool time while others, like myself, took a little snooze.
Later that evening we headed to Naples, Fla., to catch up with some of our amazing boosters. We ate at a place called Bokamper’s Sports Grill, which had TVs everywhere and definitely looked like the place to be to watch a big game. A big shout-out to the Seminole Club of Naples for hosting such a great event and supporting us. Thank you Tammie, Dean, Fay, and to all of the other Noles who came to visit with us. We really appreciate all that you have done for us and continue to do!
Since we didn’t play until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the coaches decided to take us to the Miromar Outlets to do a little shopping that afternoon. We practically ran off of the bus…okay, maybe that was just Celeste Gomez and I, but we were all excited. These outlets had everything from Michael Kors to an American Eagle. We shopped for about two hours although it seemed to go by too fast. I think the favorite store was Nike because everyone had bought at least one thing from there.
Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training
Before we left to come back to Tallahassee we stopped in Port Charlotte to catch a Tampa Bay Rays spring training game. As soon as we stepped off of the bus it felt like it was opening day at the ballpark. There was a good size crowd and that “ballpark” smell of fresh cut grass and hot dogs was wafting through the air. It felt even more like a regular season game because we got to see all of the starters play for both the Rays and the Pirates. Many of us raided the Home Team store and bought Tampa Bay Rays hats and apparel.
Our seats were great, just a few rows up from the first base dugout. Although the sun was out there was a slight breeze blowing that was very chilly since our seats were in the shade. Almost the whole team went and sat out on the sunny berm in left field. A few of us chose to stay in the chilly shade because we could see the game much better and it was worth it. Being at the ballpark watching baseball is like nothing else. Thank you Antonio Santiago for being the best Director of Operations and setting that up for us, we had a blast!
Catching up with Barry Smith
On our way back to Tallahassee we stopped near Tampa to have dinner with another huge supporter of FSU Softball, Barry Smith. His wife Mary Ann Stiles had to work and couldn’t make it, but we know how much you wanted to be there! We ate a restaurant called PrimeBar that was located in the middle of a big open mall area. We were surrounded by stores like Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Forever 21, etc. and a lot of us were dying to go shopping, again.
Barry Smith played football for Florida State University from 1970-1972 and was named first team All-American as well as elected into the FSU Hall of Fame in 1979. After graduating from FSU, he went on to play with the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barry Smith and Mary Ann Stiles are both loyal supporters to our softball program and the softball/soccer office building is even named after them. It was so nice of Barry Smith to meet us for dinner and spend some time talking with our team. Thank you!
This past weekend we hosted an Alumni Reunion for all FSU Softball-ers, from slow-pitch to fast pitch. It was so cool to meet some of the slow-pitch alumni and hear their stories. It was also funny to hear how much FSU has changed since they played here. We hosted a slow-pitch game for all of the alumni to play and wow…they still got it. They were making diving catches, turning double plays, and even scooping throws at first base. Coach Graf was even getting back into her coaching days by hitting ground balls at her team and telling them to move their feet. I have to say it was pretty awesome to see how much passion and love all of the players still have for the game of softball. Thank you to all of the FSU Softball Alumni who came out and shared your memories and love for the game of softball with us!
Ready for the cold!
After an exciting sweep of NC State this past weekend and taking two against University of North Florida on Wednesday night we are ready to take on Boston College this weekend. However, due to weather conditions in Boston, we are playing at Bryant University in Rhode Island instead, where the weather shouldn’t be quite as freezing. You can bet we’ll be bundled up, but we’ll be ready to play and ready to win.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to our sister Taylor Foster- Keep fighting and stay strong. Love you Taylor! “We play for our sisters who can’t.”
As always…GO NOLES!