Work Hard, Play Hard On And OFF The Field

Shannon Murry

Shannon Murry

Written By Shannon Murray

Even though she doesn’t play softball, one of my favorite quotes of all time comes from soccer stud Mia Hamm. “Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.” I have played by this quote for years and carried it with me on the field for every pitch, every at bat and every play made. Not only have I carried this quote with me on the field, but off the field into life as well. This quote reminds me every time I think about it to put others before myself and to make sacrifice for others.

Throughout my career as a college athlete I was given many opportunities to give back to the community and to the athletic community as well. By far my favorite was having our college team participate in the Friends of Jaclyn program. For you newbies to Friends of Jaclyn, this program is an astounding place for children with pediatric brain tumors and other diseases to be adopted by NCAA college sports teams. For these children, having a team is like having a second family. In the grand scheme of things, as a team we adopted not only our girl, but her whole family as well. The mission of this organization is to improve the quality of life for these kids by providing love, support and friendship as they battle these life-threatening diseases (Friends of Jaclyn, 2014).

Emma Broeniman is one of the bravest people I’ve met. She’s battled so much at such a young age. At Lawrence, our team had the honor of adopting her into our family. Emma used to come to our practices, games and other events with us and we always had a blast. My favorite line from her was coming to practice and yelling at us, “Drop and give me 50!” Sometimes I wanted to ask if she was ready to do them with us if she was so enthusiastic to say it. She brought character, purpose and a new light to our team. Emma was one of the girls. This picture, with a Lawrence softball Alum, is a few years old but nonetheless expresses the kind of atmosphere that Emma brought with her wherever she went.

Work Hard, Play Hard On and OFF the FieldSoftball gave me the opportunity to get to know, love and cherish Emma and her family. Having her in my life taught me countless of lessons outside of the ball field. When we are in practice we learn our skills and how to train our bodies to be in shape to play our best. However, we are also learning lessons that we can carry off the field with us for the rest of our lives. Emma taught me strength is not defined by the size of our bodies, but by the size of our heart.

Fortunately for me, I have the same opportunity to work with Friends of Jaclyn again, but this time as a coach. The Lake Forest College softball team also has a young girl who they adopted. I am enthusiastic and very much looking forward to getting to know another member and teammate of our family. I welcome all of the new lessons that I will learn in my classroom I call the ball field. Remember players, what you learn on the field is just as important what you learn off of it. Carry these lessons with you in your athletic, academic, and personal journeys. Take advantage of the opportunities that softball presents to you to make you a better player and person. It may not be an instructor at the front of the classroom, but softball can be just about the greatest kind of teacher there is.

If this blog entry sparked your interest about the Friends of Jaclyn program, I highly encourage you to visit their website to see all of the great things they are doing for children and sports teams all over the nation at www.friendsofjaclyn.org

Fastpitch Softball Books

Journey to the Center of Coaching

Shannon Murry

Shannon Murry

Written By Shannon Murry

Ball in my hand, mud on my cleats, and adrenaline in my veins…sounds like softball to me! There is no greater role that I would be honored to play than a fastpitch softball player. That was until I became a fastpitch softball coach. Then I found two roles that bring me twice the happiness. My name is Shannon Murray and I am going to take you on a journey to the center of coaching.

After playing softball for 14 years, I couldn’t find a more appropriate way to give back to the sport that gave me everything than by coaching it. This is my first season as a college coach but my 8th year coaching those much younger. As a first year college coach fresh out of college I anticipate many adjustments and lessons to learn. No matter where my journey will take me or how I start out, I will always reflect and be grateful for the people that got me here.

Being softball players, we would be no where without the support and dedication of those that surrounded our athletic environments for however many years we played. As I begin the next step of my journey as a college softball coach I am more grateful than ever for the people that sat in the stands, tossed me balls to hit, believed in me and told me “you can”. I had coaches, friends, family and teammates that believed in me somewhere along the way. I couldn’t think of a better picture to add with this post than my number one supporters who got me all the way. With that said players, this one’s for you.

Don’t ever forget where you came from. Don’t forget about the people that got you there. Remember to thank your mom and dad for coming after a long day of tournament play is over. Tell the coaches that mean the most to you that they matter. As a player, I always told these special people how grateful I was for them. Now as a coach, I truly understand the rewarded feeling a coach can receive from hearing a player tell you that I got them somewhere. It makes me want to be better, train harder, learn more and go above and beyond my coaching requirements…with pleasure. I don’t mind skipping out on something else to go give a girl a lesson. Being a softball coach makes me forget that it’s a job because it doesn’t really feel like one. I feel few people these days can say that they 100% enjoy their job and everything that comes with it. Thanks to those people that guided and supported me along the way, I have the privilege of waking up each morning enthusiastic to go to the “office”…or for us the ball field.

So players, no matter how old you are or where you are in your softball experience, saying a simple “Thanks for believing in me,” can have more power than the energy it took to say the words. Coaches are there for YOU. We are there to make YOU better. We want to see YOU succeed. So instead of it being about you once, make it about THEM. Tell your coaches, parents and other supporters that you wouldn’t be there without them. Because honestly, I know I would most definitely not. They were huge stepping stones and directions in my journey to the center of coaching.