Watching from the sidelines

26
Apr

Sally Corrick

Growing up in the UK, I was not at all sporty (table tennis at school doesn’t count!), and although my husband John was a bit more athletic, playing and following football, hockey, cricket etc, neither of us had ever heard of softball. 


When our eldest daughter Georgina was eight, we were living in South West Florida and looking for a sport to channel her energy when we chanced upon a fastpitch softball clinic run by the local recreational league.  Although she had tried soccer and swimming, Georgina (George) immediately took to softball and insisted on throwing and catching the ball every day with John.  We signed her up for the local league and when she was 10, she starting pitching and never looked back.

Fast forward a few years and George was starting to look at college options, hoping to be able to play softball after high school.  We visited USF (the University of South Florida) in Tampa and the coach introduced us to another British family whose daughter, Lauren Evans,  was just about to start at USF and had played for the GB Under-19s the previous summer.  We hadn’t realised that there was a GB softball team, but soon George had applied to play for them.

After she was selected in Spring 2014, we booked our flights to Holland for the European Junior Championships in Rosmalen.  We didn’t know what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised by the communication, organisation and friendliness of everyone involved in the process.  We combined the trip with a visit to family and friends in the UK and were a little bit nervous at first to leave our 15-year old daughter with the team who were due to practice at Farnham Park before travelling over to Holland.  However, as soon as we saw her again in Holland, she was loving the experience, meeting new friends and enjoying the independence.  We liked the way that the girls did everything together -- teammates on and off the field.  They did well, coming fourth overall in the competition, although George was frustrated by a growth-related injury that prevented her playing to her full potential.  But the coaches and trainers were excellent – able to diagnose her condition and providing acupuncture for pain relief and stretching exercises which she continues to do to this day.

In 2015, George played for the GB Women’s Team in European Championships, again in Rosmalen, and then for the GB Under-19s at the Junior World Championships in Oklahoma.  Again, the experience was enjoyable and beneficial.  She was the youngest player on the Women’s Team, and many of the other players were graduated and working, driving and living as adults -- but all of them were really friendly and helpful to George and, as a bonus, she learnt to cook, clean and do her own laundry as they were staying in a house and sharing the chores! 

In Oklahoma, the team took over one floor of a hotel and again benefited from staying together and being able to really get to know each other. 

For us as parents, it has all been very rewarding, even if the GB Team still lacks some of the experience of the leading international teams.  We understand the challenges that they face with a team composed of players from across the country and the globe, and we believe that the coaches have done a great job with the development of the girls and helping them with all aspects of the sport, mentally and physically.  I believe the experience has made George a better team player and heightened her sense of heritage. 

George hopes to have the opportunity to continue to play for the team in 2016 and beyond and is excited about the chance for participation in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.  She has verbally committed to play softball at USF when she graduates from high school in 2017 and her college coach, Ken Eriksen, is very supportive of her playing for GB and representing her country (although it probably helps that he is currently the Head Coach for Team USA!) 

We are very pleased to see the sport growing in the UK and Europe and thankful for the people behind the scenes, as well as those on the field, who have helped the GB Under-19 and Women’s Teams achieve what they have so far.


tagged under: fastpitch softball, national teams, youth

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About Sally Corrick

Sally Corrick

Sally Corrick was born in Grays, Essex and lived in the UK until moving to US in 1999.  She is married to John, another Brit, and they now live in Florida. They have two daughters, Georgina (17) and Sophie (16).  Georgina was born in Basingstoke before the family moved to the US while Sophie was born in Atlanta, Georgia.  Sally has been involved with softball since Georgina (known to everyone as George) started playing at eight years old and has spent many hours at the ball field watching games.  More recently, she has enjoyed being involved with GB Fastpitch teams for the past two years and is looking forward to watching them play this summer!  She works as a real estate agent, helping people buy and sell homes in the Lake Mary/Sanford area, just north of Orlando.

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