So maybe you’re considering Cleary as a choice to continue your passion of playing softball but are still torn if it is the right choice for you. I know when I was in your shoes I had someone to clearly define the daily tasks, roles and responsibilities of a CU softball player. I wish I could tell you the day in the life a CU softball player is easy to define, organized, consistent and easy to follow but this is anything but the truth. Our days are typically far from consistent since scheduling practices is tricky between our coaching staffs careers, our facilities availability, school functions, and Michigan’s bipolar weather. However, I can break it down into a general guideline for what to expect when you sign your CU letter of intent.
Fall and Spring:
Most likely in your first year at Cleary you’ll be attending class on campus from 9 am to 4:15 pm on Tuesday and Thursday. Even though it may be 8 am when the sound of a blaring alarm wakes you from a dead sleep, skipping class may seem like the best and most logical decision. This is sadly not a keen option since word is likely to get back to coach. So usually with your new signature granola bar and water bottle in hand, you pack up your things for the WHOLE day and begrudgingly head to class you’re dreading. As soon as class ends you will head to Cleary’s bathrooms (since we do not yet have locker rooms) and changed immediately for practice. From there you will likely car pool with teammates to our “home field” about 8 minutes away at Parker Middle School. Practice typically starts promptly at 4:45 so be sure to shove some food down your throat and get those painful metal cleats on ASAP. Practice usually runs until 6:45ish but if coach is in a good mood and feels practice was productive you can bet to get out 15 minutes early. Typically on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays as soon as practice ends expect Shane, our schools speed and conditioning coach, to show up to literally kick your butt for about a half hour to 45 minutes…SIGH.
Most girls on off-days of classes end up working in order to pay for gas, food, and their living situation whether that’s most commonly off-campus apartments or the very expensive dorms Cleary has to offer. However, that’s when we don’t play games. This may sound easy but we play an upwards of 20 games in the fall and in the spring we get scheduled for an upwards of a whopping 60 games. However, expect Michigan weather to do it’s best to dwindle game days in the spring to closer to 50. On game days in fall we for some reason play A LOT in Grand Rapids. Because of this, on game days usually we have to leave around 7 or 7:30 am in order to arrive around 9:30 or 10ish. We then have about an hour and a half to two hours for our pre-game stretches, warm-ups, snacking, pre-game talks, and team bonding. Unlike most high school game days, we ALWAYS play at least 2 games a day with about a 15 minute break in between each game. As most of you may already know, expect each softball game to last about 2 hours. This means if we are scheduled for a double header for noon expect to be leaving the field around 4:30 by the time everyone is packed up off the field and on the bus. From there we always go out to team dinner which feeding 26+ people at a time varies drastically on the restaurant or fast food chain of coaches choice. You can expect at least an hour for each team dinner. So finally it’s nearing 5:30 or 6 and you’re back on the bus and ready for a shower and your own bed. We will arrive back at Cleary around 8 or 8:30 depending on traffic, making for a very long and tiring day just to be followed by usually studying and homework then just to repeat it all again the next day bright and early.
As many of you may already know, winter is considered our off-season, however in college sports there truly is no off-season. We still put in work 3-5 days a week depending on the time in the winter. However a rough draft of what our winter schedule is as outlines below:
Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays are workout days that occur either bright and early around 7:30 or 8 am for about 2 hours or in the late afternoon like 6 to 8 pm. Expect to be so sore that climbing the stairs to get to your dorm or apartment will be a struggle. On Tuesdays and Thursdays you will usually be getting ready late for a practice at 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm which will be a full indoor practice at Legacy in Brighton, about 10 minutes from Cleary or 20 from the apartment complex many girls reside in. This gets rough when the following days workouts are bright and early in the morning.
As you can see you will put in a lot of work year round. During the fall and spring season you will have games sporadically throughout the week and almost guaranteed every weekend, all weekend. While this can make for very long days and weeks, expect every waking moment to be preparing for the excitement, stamina, skill and adrenaline that will be needed for game days when you will be representing yourself, family, friends, teammates and Cleary as a whole on the field. While it is a lot of hard work, time and dedication, there is no explaining the feeling of getting to put on a Cleary jersey and knowing you get to put your blood, sweat and tears in every game when you test yourself and team against the other college athletes across the country. While it may get hectic to do all your homework, studying, cleaning, and social life in between so much softball, you will somehow mange to make it your new norm and make new memories every single day.
If you want to be apart of something bigger than yourself and this sounds like something that interests you visit http://www.cleary.edu/choose-cleary/ and apply today! From there a simple email to one of our coaches, either coach Bailey, coach Meadows, or coach Marty will suffice to get the ball rolling and get you more information so you can slide right into our program.