Lipstick And Cleats

Lipstick and cleats

Lipstick And Cleats Written By Charity Butler

This is another post from My European softball adventures.

With another two wins, the Saints improved to 11 and 1 overall. As the season progressed, however, our team never shifted our focus too far from the European Cup Softball Championships.

The Euro Cup plays host to the top ten softball teams in Europe. It is the largest, most high-profile softball tourney on the European continent.

As the National Champions of Sweden three years running, the Saints earned a birth to represent Sweden in the Cup in Legnano, Italy.

Tough training is necessary to properly prepare: lifting, running and practicing on the field. Working to compete at a top-notch level requires focus, discipline and frankly, “guts”.

As a team, we experienced sprained ankles, strained muscles, bruises, cuts and even a cracked rib. Playing with aches and pains comes with the softball territory.

Sliding, diving for balls and staying dirty are merely part of the routine.

So, I pose a rather unexpected question, “Is the term ‘Female-Athlete’ an oxymoron?” I mean, is it possible to be both gracefully feminine, and yet relentlessly competitive?

After years as a disciplined competitor who also loves dresses, makeup and facials, the answer is resoundingly yes.

Not only is being a female-athlete doable, it is an absolute pleasure! Being tough, disciplined and strong as well as tender poised and pretty allows us to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Our sometimes demanding schedules while playing in Sweden, though, did not afforded us much time to primp. We lived in sweats and cleats most of the time.

During the first several weeks, we had not even explored much of the town.

One Sunday morning, though, my roommate Nicole and I set out on a mission. After fixing our hair, putting on some makeup and slipping into some jeans, we mounted our bikes. With no map and no real sense of direction, we sought out the “girliest” activities possible.

While riding through town, we observed people pruning their cute little gardens. Many others were just lying in the bright green grass enjoying the sun. The weather was actually warm for once. We passed pedestrians walking dogs or others pushing baby carriages.

The sun beamed from the cloudless, blue sky. The tranquility of this gorgeous day was unmistakable.

Eventually, we stopped at our team’s sponsor restaurant, Prima, for a lunch of steak and potatoes. The food was, as usual, more than satisfying. Mmm. Mmmm.

Then, as rather directionally challenged girls, we inquired about directions toward the downtown shops and malls. Instead of simply giving us a map or instructions, the owner of Prima sent one of his employees and a company car to chauffer us downtown. He brought us right to the middle of Skövde square. What service!

Our first stop was the mall, of course. We purchased specialty drinks from the coffee shop and sipped as we browsed the different stores and shops throughout the mall.

The weather was too gorgeous, though, to stay inside. We made the short trek to the middle of downtown Skövde. The fountain and square seemed a logical place to begin.

Since we could not read anything there, we made up stories about the bizarre statues in the large fountain. We took pictures of some beautiful buildings, including an historical hotel and a picturesque little church.

We leisurely strolled through outdoor gardens and even visited a flower shop. The aroma in that tiny store was fresh and sweet. The arrangements were exquisite, too.

Afterward, we attempted to visit the theater and local museum. Both are closed on Sundays, however. Experiencing the cultural side of Skövde was an adventure for another day.

On our way back to the apartment, we walked through an old cemetery. The grounds were charming, actually. The rod-iron gates, stone walls, tall, draping trees and well-manicured hedges and flower beds made the area feel more like a garden than a place for the dead.

Late in the afternoon, we spread a sheet in the velvety grass outside our apartment. You know, wearing cleats regularly can take a toll on the feet. So, we painted our toes while enjoying the warm Swedish sun. The temperature actually reached 77 degrees!

We finished the day with warm showers, shaved legs, Swedish gourmet chocolate and a chick-flick movie.

What a day. Getting “away for a day” can be refreshing, rejuvenating, reenergizing. I could not wait until Monday to begin training again.

Lipstick and cleats: definitely a beneficial balance for the female-athlete!

Softball Junk

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Charity ButlerCharity Butler is respected nationally & internationally as a pro athlete, writer, speaker, collegiate coach, hitting instructor and Certified Intrinsic Life Coach®.

Charity, a Two-Time ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American, played Division I softball at the University of Southern Mississippi. Upon graduation, she launched a professional softball career that has taken her across the U.S. and literally around the world.

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