By Savannah Boone
Alberta B. Farrington Stadium, Arizona State University
‘The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.’ —Phil Jackson
My name is Savannah Boone and I was given the opportunity to fly out to Phoenix, Ariz. for the 2018 Kajikawa Classic softball tournament with the Indiana University softball team as one of the team’s honorary members.
The Kajikawa softball tournament has been held since 2005 in Tempe, Ariz. and is named after Arizona Basketball Hall of Fame and ASU Hall of Distinction inductee, Bill Kajikawa. 28 softball teams from different colleges around the United States showed up to the tournament fields with the same thing on their minds: the game of softball.
With only four days to play, it was time to play hard and play tough the moment the gates opened on Thursday, Feb. 8.
I arrived to the fields the next day, filled with excitement to watch a weekend of games of my favorite sport in such beautiful, 82-degree sunny weather.
The first thing I heard as I entered the grounds was the loud chanting and cheering coming from the crowds surrounding the four individual playing fields. One thing that caught my attention above the crowd’s boisterous cheering wasn’t just the beautiful scenery of mountains and palm trees in the distance surrounding the fields, but the encouraging cheers and chants coming from the players inside the dugouts. Each player’s spirit was just as bright as the sweltering Arizona sun shining down on us. It made my already smiling face beam a little bit more.
As the day went on, game after game it was apparent that the players were getting worn out and tired from their hard playing. As the blistering sun continued to beam down on them the players still played hard until the last out of the inning, with the same positive and encouraging attitudes they had at the beginning of the game.
The coaches and the fans still cheered on their teams no matter the score. With the positive encouragement coming from both the teams and fans it was almost impossible for the heat or the scoreboard to come between the game and the love these girls have in their hearts for it.
I had the opportunity to watch a couple of games with the Indiana softball team as part of being the team’s honorary member. It was a great experience to see the players boost up the rest of the team if there was a bad play or someone struck out at bat. It allowed me to see the true sisterhood of a softball team and the bonds and respect these players have with each other, their coaches, their fans and even their opponent team!
So even though the score may not be in your favor, you’re never out!
Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to take this trip!