I started playing softball when I was 13 years old. I had a coach from South Africa come to my school for a physical education lesson. I had never heard of softball in my life, but I pretty much fell in love with it instantly. I loved how different it was to the many other sports I had played growing up.
Fast pitch softball in Great Britain is a very small sport. We only had 3 teams in our entire league totalling about 30-40 people. We either played indoors or on grass fields just placing the bases down in open spaces with no back stops or back fences. I was invited to join the school of excellence program that was set up by overseas coaches that came to grow the sport in England. We would practise once a month, and would play up to 10-15 games in one year.
After 4 years of training with that program, and travelling to play with 2 different club teams with older more experienced expat players. I was selected to play for the U-19s national team, then moving up to the GB woman’s in 2009. Since joining the woman’s program I have played 4 years of college softball in America, and am about to go into my 4th season of playing softball in the leagues in Holland.
There has never really been any funding put into our national teams especially since softball was taken out of the 2008 Olympics. Pretty much every tournament I have played in (4 European championships and 4 World championships) has been paid by me spending thousands of pounds out of my pocket. I have also sacrificed the past 7 years being away from my family. It’s tough at times, but in my eyes its always worth doing it for the passion of my life. I have dreams of playing in the 2020 Olympics with GB, and I will never give up on that dream.
That’s a small background of how I grew up with softball in my country. I would not change it for anything as it has enabled me to really appreciate where I have come from having limited facilities and equipment growing up with the sport, and to also appreciate level I now play at from coming from such a small softball background. It just goes to show that hard work and passion always pays off, and you should never give up on your ambitions or dreams.