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© 2015 by EVA VOORTMAN

Softball life: Dominika Mešťanová, Slovakia


SLOVAKIA

Slovakia is right in the middle of Europe. The river Danube, capital city Bratislava, Tatras and many other mountains define this country. We have beautifull nature and great cuisine that combines tastes from around the Europe. When you decide to come make sure you try typical Slovak meal – bryndzové halušky(potato dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon).

Slovakia is a country where if you say you are a softball player, most people (99,997%) won’t know what that is. Remaining 0,003% are us – softball players and our parents. This percentage is only for you to imagine how popular is softball here. Most people ask if we play with that ''leaky ball'' because they usually think we play florball. So you start explaing what softball is and no it is not as soft as it sounds. Often I get asked if I am that person who catchs or hits. So yeah, I like to explain the rules hah. We love it anyway.

APOLLO BRATISLAVA

This is my eight season in Apollo Bratislava, my hometeam. Twentythree players, that's what we have now. Not in every category but in total. This forces us to practice all together so the age range is from 12 to 35 which can be difficult for my coaches to prepare practice sometimes. We meet three times a week and each practice lasts an hour and a half. During the off season (which is now) practices are situated in a gym where we have one batting cage and some space for practicing ground balls or fundamentals besides hitting. We have this advantage only second year so we are very excited about it. We went throught a small crises last couple of years where we did not have enough players so we didn’t feel much competition or motivation. Fortunately it is different now, we have much more players and everyone has interest to practice and earn a position in starting lineup.

Apollo Bratislava, Trnava Panthers - these are two teams competing in the Slovak softball league (in the 2017 season will be added new team – Bat Breakers from Devínska Nová Ves).We don’t get many games but damn we get so competitive agaist each other J. We also participated in the Euroleague where we took second place this year. Teams from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Vienna and Croatia take part.

My team did a great job this year, we have won gold medal from the Slovak Chapmpionship and silver from the Euroleague.

Since we don’t get to play many games here, to get better, many of us are playing in the Czech Republic as well. Me and my 9 teammates are members of the Snails Kunovice Team. Four of them are in the cadets and rest of us play in the Women's Extraleauge (first league in Czech Rep.). Playing there helped us a lot. We were travelling there every week and played 4 games per weekend which is much more than in Slovakia. It's a good experience and we are looking forward to next season.

NATIONAL TEAM

The best time of the year is always being part of the National team! Wearing white, blue and red is always great but this year it was pride to play in this colors on EChU22. In most of the countries you have to fight to be part of the national team. It was not really needed here. Our way to the ECh was never that hard. If you were a player who is old enough and had an interest then you could go. Easy peasy...Past years we met before championship only twice, if even that. That was not enough to get to know each other and play as a team.

Fortunately things have changed this year. We took a 4th place on EChU22 which was a historical moment in Slovak softball and moreover we have beaten Czech team for the first time ever. You should see that happiness. Amazing. Year 2016 will undoubtedly stay forever in not only our memories, but as well as in our fans and parents memories. For the first time we were a TEAM. Being part of a team is not only about playing in the same jersey on the field. It is about willingness, respect, sacrifise and dedication to leave everything you have on the field. It is not about beating your "enemies" but to know how to play with your friends. This is what I have learnt at EChU22.

I hope that in the next year championships we’ll show our hard work. We would like to make it to the top 12 but I would say being part of the top 8teams is dream of every of my teammate. My main goal is to play the game with love and joy and keep the head up high regardless of the score because if we will leave everything we worked for on that field is all that matters to me.

Dominika


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