Thursday, January 24, 2013

Danielle Spaulding Enters Justin’s World

One of the biggest reasons I love softball is the people. Pretty much everyone involved in the game, from active collegiate players, those in the professional league, & coaches to owners, broadcasters, and retired players, I’ve yet to come into contact with someone that falls under any of those titles and wasn’t one of the most kind, gracious people I’ve ever met.

Without hesitation, I can classify former UNC Tar Heel standout & current Carolina Diamonds star Danielle Spaulding in the same way. She is one of the sweetest, nicest people you’ll ever meet, and a pretty dang talented pitcher, to boot! After a trade from the talent-heavy Pride sent her to the Diamonds before last season, Dani spent 2012 in the lime and white and helped the NPF’s presence grow in the Carolinas.

Her personal statistics are pretty awesome, as well. A 3-time NFCA all-American at UNC, her senior year was one of the most spectacular seasons I've ever seen put up by anybody. She went 21-7 in the circle, with a ridiculous 1.21 ERA and 344 strikeouts. At the same time, she only put up a .323/8/33 stat line at the plate. Oh, yeah and don't forget the SIX no-hitters in the pitching circle.

Dani is in her first season as an assistant coach at University of Redlands, a Division III institution, while pursuing graduate studies. I personally believe she’s really got a knack for coaching, and she’s already made quite an impact on the Bulldogs program. She’s on both Facebook and Twitter, so make sure you “friend” and “follow” her!

Q: Besides being a great & dominant pitcher, you're also a to-be-reckoned-with hitter. What is the advantage to being a "dual threat" player instead of just excelling at one or the other?
Question 1: Well I don’t hit anymore in the professional league, but when I was in college I loved being able to hit because it allowed me to be able to separate the game and it allowed me to be involved both offensively and defensively.  I also feel my opponents respected me more as an all around player rather than “just a pitcher” or just a hitter”

Q: What is the proudest moment of your career?
Question 2: This is a really hard question to answer because I have so many proud moments.  A proud moment that I will always remember is not for myself but another teammate who was thrown into a situation that you could have easily said was “out of her league”.  I was coming off of shoulder surgery so  I was not allowed to pitch but they wanted me to play first base but not throw.  She was pitching against the #9 team in the nation as a freshman and I talked to her every step of the way and she really matured that game and beat them.  That was one of the proudest moments as a teammate because knowing the type of person she is and she showed her vulnerability (which she never does) and she pushed through it and she didn’t hesitate to ask for help and I am glad I was there for her when she needed me.  I was so proud to see as a veteran player to see someone so young grow and mature in one game.  As a player, I would have to say my senior year was one of my hardest years emotionally and physically.  I had to overcome  pitching through a broken hand it showed me who I was as a teammate, a person, and as a player/competitor.

Q: Give me your prediction for the 2013 Tar Heels softball team.
Question 3: When  I have talked to Coach Papa and Boo Gillette they are extremely excited about this year and say they are going t make a great run.  It’s hard to make a prediction without knowing the players, but with the Coach Tony Baldwin as the new hitting coach ( I have heard nothing but GREAT things about him) and Lori Spingola on the mound I think they are going to do great.  My 5th year  I had a chance to work with Lori and not only does she have the fight, but she has what it takes to bring the team far.  I am excited to follow how they do.

Q: A few months into your new duties as "Coach Danielle", how are you liking coaching? Is it weird yelling advice from the dugout instead of being in uniform on the field?
Question 4: I absolutely LOVE coaching.  This is actually my “3rd” year as a coach.  I was the student assistant at UNC and they really treated me like a coach so I got so much experience.  I was the pitching coach at Texas A&M last year so that was also an amazing experience working for such an amazing university.  And this being my first year at the University of Redlands I couldn’t have asked for a better fit.  Although I have such a passion for coaching I do miss the feeling of putting on my uniform.  I am still trying to play in the NPF this year although it won’t be a full season I want to do whatever it takes to keep playing.  Coaching has made me learn a lot about myself because now I am preparing girls to reach their full potential and I do whatever it is I have to do to prepare the for that and then come game time it is all in their hands.  Being a young coach, and being a competitor in general, that is something that I have and will always have a hard time doing.  Softball has given me many opportunities and it is my job to teach and coach these girls so that they can have the same opportunities I have had.
Q: As a player & now a coach, how much preparation do you do in readying to face an opponent?
Question 5: Preparation starts DAY 1.  I tell my girls that the moment you step in the classroom and the moment you step on the field you are preparing for every opponent you ever play.  You can never stop preparing and you cannot stop getting better.

Q: Finish this sentence: If I were not involved with softball, I would be ________________.
Question 6: Lost;) just kidding… that’s a hard one because I have never thought of my life outside of softball.  If I were not involved in softball I would probably work with kids in some way.

Q: If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
Question 7: Tough question because but for just being fun. Maybe Miranda Lambert.  She seems to have pretty fun with everything and her husband Blake Shelton is not only gorgeous, but hilarious as well.

Q: Say you were Aladdin and the genie agreed to grant you three wishes. What would you ask for?
Question 8: a good singing voice (loved to sing but also don’t want to torture people haha), a healthier body (mine feels about 40 years old lol), a successful softball facility to run

Q: If you were offered a guest-starring role on any television show currently on TV, which would you like to appear on?
Question 9: Probably “New Girl” it is probably one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. Or for a serious show “Chicago Fire”

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