Well, it is finally that time of the year again. As the weather is getting colder in Memphis, we are headed as far south as we can to start our season off right. Who would have ever guessed that we would start the season with one of the top three teams in the nation? Definitely not us, but we are headed to Mobile, Ala., to play in the Mardi Gras Invitational and to start our season off with a bang.
Yes, we are starting our year with #3 Alabama, but honestly, your Lady Tigers are ready to play. The day we returned from Christmas break we were ready to play. Now that we have an amazing new coaching staff, things around the diamond are a bit different than they have been in the past. To start, all of the returners are used to coming back to three or four 2-a-days, but that was not the case this year. The first official practice was not scheduled until the day before school started, but that did not stop our girls from getting extra work in in those days before. That early commitment shows the heart these girls have for the game of softball as well as each other. Ever since then, we have worked extremely hard every day at practice, coming in early to work individually or along with another teammate.
Our hard work is not only shown on the field but also in the weight room and during conditioning. We may all look like zombies as we walk into the weight room at 6:30 am one day and 5:30 am another day, but getting stronger is not a problem with this team. We have girls who came in barely being able to squat the bar putting 45-lb plates and more on the bar and two other girls putting 45-lb plates on the bar to bench press. So I do not think lack of strength will be an issue for us this year. I cannot wait to see what our new found strength is going to bring to the field.
I realize we have been practicing and scrimmaging against each other for a month now, but that is against our own players. There is nothing like good, strong competition outside of practice hours that brings out the fighting intensity within an athlete. I am beyond excited to see what this team has to bring to the table. After last year, we are being watched out for more than we have been but I still do not believe other teams and coaches are truly prepared for what we will be bringing onto the field this 2012 season. I believe this team, as a whole, is one of the hardest working teams I have ever played with, and I would not change anything about this team. We are a family, through and through, and I cannot wait for all of you to come out and watch us play our hearts out until the end, preferably in Oklahoma City!!
#22 JESSICA PHILLIPS