Issue 3 Raptor Rundown


THERE’S NO HOME LIKE HOME BASE Student life editor Lili Xiong passes the ball to a memeber of the LASA softball team to warm up. According to Xiong, these simple looking throws are quite decieving. photo by Kayla Le

LiLi Xiong, Student Life Editor

Prior to attending softball practice for the first time, the only thing I knew for certain about baseball was that if you talk about the Astros cheating, people get angry. Furthermore, the only thing I knew for certain about softball was that it was an extension of baseball.


Ten minutes before practice started, entertainment editor and pitcher Katie Busby gave me a crash course on how the game worked and the different positions, roles, and terminology I might need to know. Once I stepped onto the field, I promptly forgot all of them. Regardless, walking towards the field with a battered and ill-fitting glove on one hand, a bat in the other, and an awkwardly fitted mask on my face, I felt like the softball field was my oyster– and I was going to devour the oyster.


To kick off practice, I participated in an outfielder catching drill where we were thrown a long pass and had to catch it and throw a long pass back, which turned out to be much easier said than done. As I neared the front of the line and my heart rate quickened, I thought to myself, Don’t overthink this. It’s just like basketball. It was not, in fact, like basketball. My form was all wrong, and the bruises I got on my shoulder and hand served as a testament to that. I realized that I was trying to catch the ball at the center of my body, which was something I had to unlearn from basketball. Admittedly, I also casually ignored the, now obvious, fact that I was supposed to catch the ball mostly with the glove I was wearing, not my hands. Embarrassingly, I got serious whiplash every time I expected the softball to behave like a basketball, but it’s at least 5 times smaller, yellow, doesn’t bounce, and just doesn’t listen to me the way basketballs do. Most importantly, I learned that a softball –despite what you may think– is not soft whatsoever. That thing can cause serious pain.


Don’t get me wrong, there were good things. I caught the ball– sometimes. There came an undeniable feeling of satisfaction when I felt the ball, secure in my borrowed and worn glove. Also, the other players were so encouraging that it was impossible to wallow in self-pity at my skills, or lack thereof. Softball players do this thing where they high-five each other with their gloves, and even though they all had the most beautiful, flawless form compared to me, whenever I caught the ball, there’d be a line of outstretched gloves waiting for me to high-five.


Then, I went to practice with the infielders, which I liked because it hurt less. Coach Emily Kossa would bat a ball, and I was positioned at what I think was called “short stop,” or middle infield. Essentially, each time  Kossa batted the ball, we practiced communicating with each other to get the ball to first base as quickly as possible. Even though I kept fumbling and chasing after the ball, the other players’ guidance and encouragement made it all the more fun.


We ended practice by playing a short game of softball. I was told to get ready to bat. One of the captains, sophomore Abby Aardema, gave a noble effort at explaining how to bat, and I thought I’d gotten the general idea, but then senior Emma Chu informed me to just “use my animalistic instinct,” which I was sure I did not have.


As I stepped up to the plate, instead of getting the ball pitched to me, Coach Kossa “soft tossed” it, which was probably for the best. It took a few tries, but I did end up hitting the ball at some point, and I took off running towards first base, where I learned that you have to keep your foot on the base until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hands. On my long and humbling journey back to home base, I ran when I wasn’t supposed to and forgot to run when I was supposed to. But with the help of the players and coaches, I was able to make it right back to home base.


Walking back to the locker room after practice, body aching, heart full, the oyster of softball devoured, I thought that maybe it would be best if I just stuck to basketball.