Every now and then, something happens to make me realize why I love coaching so much. Coaching is not easy. I am responsible for a group of athletes that range in age from 18-22 who are just trying to prove to themselves and to others that they are going to make fantastic teachers, lawyers, chemists, accountants, police officers and so on. They also are trying to show a coach that they are outstanding softball players and can be great team-players at the same time.
It is easy to love coaching when your team is winning and everyone is feeling good but it is harder to love it when you are struggling to build a winner and adversity hits. However, when you are blessed with a group that deep downs understands wins and losses are just part of a game and the true importance in life is family, then you have discovered the St. Bonaventure softball team.
The beginning of this past week, we received that news that our freshmen pitcher, Jen Sansano lost a family member that was very close to her. Your first thought is always of how Jen will feel and your concern for her family at such a time. Your second thought is how this will affect the softball team on and off the field. But in true Bonaventure spirit, the team responded by conforting Jen and letting her know that we all understood that she needed to be with her family no matter what that meant for our coming Atlantic 10 games.
In a perfect world, we would have been by Jen's side the entire weekend, but the rest of us had to travel to Washington for a series with the GW Colonials to start our Atlantic 10 season. Our pitching staff knew it had to step up and put in some extra innings and the team was ready to go come game time. Through a 6 hour bus ride and two games, I never heard one player lament the fact that Jen was not with us. They understood that everything was how it needed to be.
Unfortunately the games did not turn out the way we wanted but the team played hard against a much improved GW team and we had our chances at winning both games but came up just short. Diana Phalon was a trooper throwing 10+ innings on the day and Erin Nargi fought through some nagging pains to give us some quality innings but we did not make quite enough defensive plays to keep GW off the scoreboard. Our bats stayed decently hot with some quality at bats and big hits in both games. We put up 15 hits on the day but it was just not quite enough.
We have gone through a lot of adveristy so far this season but it will make us closer as a team, which will make us better and a program. Jen returned to us today to hugs and smiles. We are glad to have her back and we are looking forward to the remaining games on our schedule and the opportunity to compete for a spot in the A10 championships. Don't count the Bonnies out yet. There are a lot of games to be yet to be decided and I am excited to see this team compete in them all. GO BONAS!!