Eileen McCann is a junior outfielder on the Iona College softball team. This season, McCann will be taking Iona fans inside the world of not only an Iona softball player, but that of a student-athlete. After two short seasons, McCann has had a very successful career at Iona. A two-time MAAC Champion, McCann is a Mass Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations.
Our trip up to Buffalo for our Niagara/Canisius games last weekend got off to a slow start. When our 11:00 am departure time on Friday morning was pushed back to 11:35 am, I should have realized the writing was on the wall.
About two hours into our expedition back down to New Rochelle on Monday morning, our bus broke down at mile marker 261, allowing us the splendid opportunity to scour the side of the highway for a half mile before inhabiting a gas station parking lot for two and a half hours as we waited for a replacement bus to arrive from New Jersey. The area in which we set up our camp can only be described as “deliverence-esque”, an adjective that can only be understood by one that witnessed the scene. The trip, in total, lasted 12 hours. In true Gael fashion, I’d say we made the most of it, keeping our spirits high, the mood light, and not letting a mere 3 minutes go by without someone reminding me that it was my 21st birthday.
Being slow to start and failing to get where we needed to be became the theme of the weekend when also taking into consideration our Canisius games underwent a rain delay and were pushed back from noon to 6:00 pm.
We split the weekend, taking one from both Niagara and Canisius, then allowing them each to beat us with a single run. Focusing on the negative certainly won’t induce a positive result, and there is simply no time to dwell on the lack of offense we’ve recently displayed. After this past weekend of MAAC play, we have found ourselves right in the middle of an absolute dog fight for first place and I’m quite sure none of our opponents are wasting time focusing on anything short of defeating us.
This is the time of the season when tension is high, and pressure begins to mount. The team that comes out on top will be the one that refuses to give in to the overwhelming potential that each game holds to let one’s season slip away and fall apart right before their eyes. It will be the team that remains united after a tough loss, and turns disappointment into an opportunity to get stronger.
Coach’s mantra is “Control the controllable.” You cannot control where the other team will hit the ball, or how their pitcher will throw at you. You cannot control the umpire’s strike zone, or the weather or the conditions of the field on which you’re playing.
What you can control is your reaction to these things. What you can control is the attitude you exhibit when all of these things take place.
In both losses over the weekend, we were slow to start. And with each unproductive inning that passed, we put more and more pressure on one another to “Start it up!", “Get it going!”, “Step up!”, “Be the hero!”, and we continued to go seven straight innings without producing a run.
We have a tendency to get tense and anxious and speed things up when the game isn’t going our way. As a team we need to SLOW DOWN, and remember how fun and easy this game can be if we so choose to make it that way. In fact, if one of my teammates is reading this right now, do me favor and take a big breath in…and a big breath out. Just breathe. Relax. And bring that relaxed feeling to the The Oval on Saturday.
This is the pivotal time in every team’s season when you can go one of two ways. Last year, this fork-in-the-road occurred after we were swept by Marist. We sat down as a team and essentially decided that we weren’t going to let anyone or anything turn our season into anything less than successful. At that time in the year, we knew that we had to make that decision right then and there, or it would soon be too late. Here we are again, presented with a huge opportunity to take what is rightfully ours and run with it, or to sit back and let outside pressures drag us down. With four MAAC games this weekend, it is absolutely mandatory that we get hungry, and recognize exactly what four wins can do for us at this point.
So let’s control what we can; our belief and trust in one another. We have absolutely no reason not to.
Mile Marker 26