Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An Interview with Lisa Modglin

Fans of both collegiate and professional softball will quickly recognize the name Lisa Modglin. A standout outfielder at Cal Poly, she went on to a spectacular NPF career with the New England Riptide and the Akron Racers. She recently announced her retirement, bringing to a close a stellar career that earned her many awards and honors.

It is always hard to say goodbye to not only a terrific player, but also an awesome person off the field. Lisa was one of the NPF’s greatest success stories, balancing her softball career with her “day job” as a certified accountant for the past four seasons.

One of the NPF’s biggest stars and greatest ambassadors, “Modge’s” retirement came as a bit of a surprise, and the NPF as a league and the Racers as a team were both better when they had Lisa Modglin representing them.

A classic player in a time where they are few and far between, Modglin was one of professional softball’s most longeved superstars, and her absence from the field will be immediately evident. Her presence on the field and in the clubhouse will be sorely missed.

Be sure to follow Lisa on Twitter @LModge & Facebook. My thanks to Lisa for taking time out of her very busy schedule to do this interview!

Photo cred: Graham Hays
Q: Although you are well-known to be a dynamite hitter and base runner, how do you think you would fare if given an opportunity in the pitching circle?  It would not be a pretty sight to see me in the circle.  I have never been a pitcher so I would say my pitching skills are about the equivalent to an 8 year old's pitching skills.  Pitching is much different from the rest of the game and it is such a unique talent.  I would rather roam centerfield than take on the battle in the circle.   

Q: Was the decision to retire from professional softball a difficult one? What factors led to you making that decision at this point in time?  Yes, it was a very difficult decision and it will continue to be a difficult decision as the season approaches.  At this point, the main factor that led me to retirement is that I do not have the necessary resources in the off season to play my best during season.  I work full time and it is very difficult to  train and get myself in shape to compete against the best players in the world.  I feel like I am competing at about 80% and that isn't good enough.  When I step on the field I want to be able to compete at my very best.  Another factor is that I want to put more focus on my career away from softball.  Softball has always been my #1 priority and I would like to give more attention to other aspects of my life.

Q: Now that your playing career is done, will you still be involved with the game in some capacity? Perhaps giving some private lessons at some point down the road…?  I have always given a couple of private lessons in the off season but I would like to try to expand on that.  My goal would be to eventually coach part time at the high school level.  As I mentioned before, I want to give more focus to my career, but I would love to find time to coach on the side.  I will also try to stay involved with the NPF and the future of the league by keeping lines of communication with current and former players.

Q: What is the proudest moment of your softball career? I don't know if there is ONE moment that I am most proud of.  What I am proud of, is getting to say that I have faced, and had some success off of, the absolute best pitchers in the world.  I have had the opportunity to step in the box against Cat Osterman, Jennie Finch, Monica Abbott, Sarah Pauly, Danielle Lawrie, Kristina Thorson, etc.

Q: What will you miss most about playing in the NPF? I will miss all of the little things about the game, like the preparation time before a game, which starts the moment you wake up, the feeling you get walking up to the field on game day, how free it feels when you get to run around in the outfield during pregame and try to catch every ball that is hit, standing on the line for the National Anthem, stepping in the box and knowing that you are going to battle and do anything possible to get on base, the feeling when you're standing in the outfield and you  absolutely know the ball is going to come to you and it does, when you're standing on first base and you are about to steal second and you know you're going to make it safe.  Softball is such a fun game and I will miss competing.  There is nothing I will ever get to do that compares to my career in the NPF.

Q: What kind of legacy do you hope you have left to the game? I hope that my success in the NPF gives hope to women who may not have played at a big time University like Arizona or Texas.  I also hope that my teammates and opponents think of me as someone who works hard and loves to play the games.  

Q: Is there a time in your life or career that you would like to relive, whether to experience the moment again or change the outcome? Last year at the Championship tournament we were playing the Pride to determine who would go on to compete against Bandits for the final series.  We came out so strong and scored 6 runs in the first inning.  We had a chance to win but Jessica Mendoza (arguably the best hitter in the game and in the league) hit two Grand Slams to take it away from us.  The first one she hit was to centerfield and when I jumped up and reached over the fence I could feel the ball barely miss my glove.  I think about that all the time and wish I could do it over and reach just a little bit further.  I've played 6 years in the league and never got to play in a Championship Series.  It would have been nice to end my career by getting to that series.

Q: If you were to play a sport other than softball, which would it be? I would play tennis.  I have been playing recreation tennis with my friends and family but at some point I would love to join a tennis league.  It's fun to learn a new sport and become competitive in something other than softball.  

Q: If you could trade places for a day with anyone on earth, who would it be and why? If I could trade places with anyone, it would be my good friend and Racers teammate Sam Marder just so I could try to figure out what the heck is going on in her head.  She is one of the funniest and smartest people I know and it would be interesting to see how her mind works.  Plus she has a great coaching job at Boise State and I think it would be fun to take a break from my office job and get to coach for a day.

Q: Say you were given the opportunity to guest star on any television show currently on air. Which would you choose? I guess  I could say American Idol because I am so awful at singing that there is a 100% chance my audition would be played as one of the worst performances.

Q: If a movie were to be made about your life, who would you cast in the role of Lisa? Maybe Emma Stone could play me in a movie. Now, we don't look anything alike, but I think she's a good actress.

Q: Say you were Aladdin and the genie agreed to grant you three wishes. What would you ask for? Three wishes could be 1) I would like to be able to buy my own house; 2) I would like to have more free time to be able to do volunteer work at the zoo, the fire department, and the YMCA; and 3) I would wish that there were more than 4 teams in the NPF. I won't get greedy and request 30 or even 20 teams. But how about 10 teams? That would be a good number and would give so many more women the opportunity to continue playing.

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