Monday, October 22, 2012

Melanie Fredericks on the South Carolina Trip

In traveling to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this past weekend, our team brought three things back to Deland: a closer bond and sense of unity, a new, sharp perspective of what is to come in the spring season, and finally, a more focused outlook on what the stepping stones to success in the spring truly are.

In the eight-hour bus rides to and from South Carolina, there were plenty of opportunities to bond, and we soaked up every moment of it. Even off the bus, teammates came together to grow on and off the field; in this, not only did we propagate growth on an individual level, but we grew closer as a collective as well. The energy level at our morning practice Saturday was remarkable - not only did it kick the weekend off to a good start, but it rejuvenated the spirit of our program as well. Spending time off the field with teammates allowed us to connect with each other; in learning what makes each other tick, our motivations, and our stories and experiences from back home, the prospect of having been strangers to each other two months ago seemed to melt away. The chemistry of this team is, and should be, a point of pride for Stetson.  On and off the field, individuals are willing to be dedicated to sacrifice personal agendas and comforts for this program. And in this, even though we may be new and somewhat of an underdog in our conference, we will find success in the spring. Doing the little things right will make for success in the long term. Team unity is one of those little things that we, no matter how small we may be, are able to accomplish.

Moving from this point, through playing outside competition this weekend, we became much more aware of the level that our team will be expected to perform at this spring in the competitive season. Scrimmaging the other programs on Sunday, we were able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of not only ourselves and each other on an individual basis, but as a team as well. Playing for the second time as a team together, feeling the vibe of my teammates and gaining comfort on the field with each other was incredible. With everything new comes a certain level of awkwardness, and I cannot ignore the fact that growing pains were an issue on Sunday. However, in spite of this fact, the point remains that with every outside program we play collectively, cohesiveness within our team will increase with experience. And in this, a vision for our program is established as far as working toward the spring season.

We arrived back at Stetson with not only more experience as a team but also a comprehensive new set of goals for both the rest of fall ball and for the preparation period for the competitive spring season. All in all, I would call it a successful journey - not only were we able to grow as a team on and off the field, but we captured the opportunity to assess and evaluate what the next step in our evolving program needs to be. With a new team, there are many challenges, and there are many new experiences - last weekend we took it all in, and are ready to take this team to the next level.

Melanie Fredericks
Freshman - Attack
South Lyon, Mich.

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