By Jill Ferraro
Gr. Student/UT, Duke
I didn’t play last year. I didn’t think I was ever going to play again. I thought I was going to graduate and find a job but that all changed with a phone call to Coach (Marissa) Young.
You see I played for Coach Young when she was an assistant at North Carolina. I knew that if I wanted to play softball again, I had to be picky about where I would go to further my education. I knew that playing for Coach Young would be a good experience and being the first year, that was just a bonus. Duke is the perfect fit.
The time off has taken me back to the basics of softball. I struggled a lot at UNC. I was really on and off and could never really get my mechanics to stay solid. So when you don’t swing a bat for six or seven months, you revert back to what you knew as a kid.
I’m also playing a new position. My thing is, from years of catching I don’t have the greatest knees in the world anymore and I want to be able to help the team the best way I can and left field is the answer. I learn something new every day like my drop step can be better. It’s fun and it makes me love the game like I did when I was 13. It reminds me of how much fun it was to catch fly balls and it’s exciting when I get to dive for a ball or throw a runner out at home.
When I’m out in left field, I’m just trying not to let the ball drop. It’s that simple. For the longest time, I was so focused on who’s pitching me what and now I’m just trying to hit the ball. It makes me appreciate the game again and it’s just fun.
My mindset coming in was to make the most out of this year and to not have any regrets. I only have one year left so I’m going to make the most of it. I know I’m one of the oldest and some of the girls call me, “Grandma,” and it’s a balance of I love my team to death and sometimes they drive me crazy. It’s been an adjustment more so off the field because all my friends are 18 and 19 but that’s my team and I’m going to be with them and be around them no matter what. On the field, I’m trying to give them confidence and remember where I was when I was that age. It’s been a great experience so far, just very different.
I think the legacy, I want to leave is the culture that we develop. We will make a name for ourselves come spring and there’s a lot more that we will leave behind off the field than we do on it. Duke University gave us this opportunity and it’s a lot more than softball.