The Simmons Sharks Softball team departs for Florida soon to participate in their spring training trip. The focus is on the Great North Atlantic Conference (GNAC). St. Joseph’s softball team is the preseason number one seed in the GNAC, followed by Emerson and Simmons. St. Joseph’s plays their preseason games in Fort Meyers. Simmons plays their preseason games in Clermont, Fla. Jen Field, a Windham High School graduate is a sophomore at Simmons studying physical therapy. Field opened up to The Windham Eagle about playing college softball at the NCAA Division III level. At this level, no athletic scholarships are granted.
When did practices start and what is your practice schedule?
start up in the end of January, when we return from winter break. We
practice six days a week for about two hours each practice. The schedule
is Monday through Saturday for practice. Typically, practice is 5 p.m.
to 7 p.m. but during preseason and having to share the gym with lacrosse
and basketball and it can be either 3 to 5, 7 to 9 or 8 to 10.
Sometimes there can be morning practices as well. If that is the case
then we practice 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Looking forward to Florida, what are you excited about?
Florida, I am excited to be able to play outside on a real field. It
will be a great start to the season to be able to experience games on
nice fields, in nice weather before the season starts. Also, I am
excited about the competition of the games. We play great teams from all
over the country and it is a great experience to compete with other
teams, even some top teams in the country.
Do you feel cheated not having a true Spring Break?
having down time would be really nice, and having a true spring break
sounds relaxing, playing softball during spring break in Florida with my
team is a lot of fun. Everyone on the team enjoys it. Playing in
Florida is a great start to our season and it is our time to show
everyone what we have been working so hard for during the past two
months of practice and even all the hard work of working out during the
offseason. The feedback we receive from playing these games is a great
learning experience for what the upcoming season has to offer and it is
exciting to be a part of a group that works hard and plays well
together. Even though we don’t get a lot of “down time” we get the week
off from classes to relax from some school work stress and leave it all
on the field.
You are in a transitional phase, possibly moving to a pitching role. Explain your feelings about this.
first, I was feeling very hard on myself about accepting this
challenge. I had decided not to pitch in college, but when my coach
asked me if I would be interested in trying it during the fall, I felt
it was my role as part of the team to step up and accept the challenge.
It has been a lot of hard work, but already I have seen improvement, and
I plan on continuing to work hard in practice, learn even more pitches
and constantly correct my technique. At first it was hard for me. I felt
at a disadvantage and felt behind. I hadn’t pitched for almost 2 years
and I started getting down on myself. I’ve kept working hard through
practice though, and in our first scrimmage against Wheaton College I
pitched 2 innings and never felt better. I have worked hard and I got to
witness my hard work pay off. And I know I need to continue working
just as hard to be successful for my team, if and, when there are any
times I may need to come in and relieve a starter.
How competitive is it to become a softball player in college? What are the challenges?
competitive, but it’s very doable. It is hard work, but you feel great
after. While doing workouts for softball, pushing myself to be better
for me and the team is a great feeling. Also, seeing results of becoming
a stronger player has been rewarding. There can be some challenges
with time management and school. It is a busy schedule and time
consuming. As long as one keeps their priorities straight and keeps up
with school work, the load isn’t very bad. School work comes first to
softball and the coaches completely understand that. They work with you
to help you achieve your best in school and on the field. Also, it is a
challenge because there is a big balancing act with school work,
softball, family and social life. But when you find your balance with
everything, it makes being a college athlete much easier.
Your “regular” season starts when you return to Boston. How difficult is it to play in the adverse (cold) conditions?
definitely a transition. I’ve never had to practice outside for
softball in February until I played in college. It isn’t very difficult
to adjust. Just being prepared for the weather and knowing that it is
out of your control makes it something that you can’t complain about and
that you can’t let affect how you play. If the conditions are bad, it
helps knowing that you’re not the only one who can’t feel their hands.
The whole team and the coaches are cold, too. Being outside is so much
better than being in a gymnasium.
So, entering your sophomore year as a softball player, what other thoughts do you have about playing at the college level?
a freshman was tough. There were many times I didn’t have enough
confidence in myself and let the small stuff get to me. Now as a
returner, the butterflies are gone. I’ve clicked so much better with the
team and I have learned and understand my role on the team much more.
It makes me even more excited to start this season. Also, being a
returner has given me more opportunities to be a leader and that has
been a great confidence booster.
What are the rewards of playing softball at the collegiate level?
biggest reward is being a part of a team that is made up of your best
friends and feels like your family. The bond created within collegiate
teams, at least from my experience, is a great relationship between
teammates and friends. They always encourage each other. I know that
the hard work I do for myself will not just benefit me, but it will
benefit my team as well. Also, I feel very rewarded on how much hard
work I have put in and how much time I have committed, that seeing
results in my performance has been a great feeling.
season starts the week of March 18 for both St. Joes and Simmons.
Simmons will take on MIT on March 19, at MIT. St. Joes will face
Albertus Magnus in New Haven, Conn., on March 23. Catch the Sharks when
they visit the Monks on Friday, April 12.