Today, though, I want to talk about something on a more personal level. As I mentioned yesterday, "Thor" is arguably the greatest who gained her notoriety solely on her collegiate and professional efforts, without any help from Team USA. In most sports, somebody like that, one of the biggest stars of the sport, would be kind of stingy to the fans, maybe signing autographs occasionally, but it's not unusual to see them ignore fans begging for a signature.
Thor has always been the exact opposite. Scrolling through her photos on Facebook, trying to find a pic to feature in the post yesterday, I saw picture after picture of her posing with fans. I know one guy actually approached her after the Racers were eliminated from the playoffs last year and she was "just a fan" at that point, and she took the time to sign his softball, add the inscriptions her requested, and pose for a picture with him.
When I requested to interview her, I didn't have much faith that my request would even be considered. I mean, if I sent a request to interview Justin Verlander or Clayton Kershaw, I'd probably be lucky to have my request acknowledged, much less agreed to. I was more than gleeful to receive her correspondence that she would be happy to do an interview.
If you didn't get to see Kristina Thorson play, even on television or online, that's an utter shame. But I encourage you to connect with her even now, on Facebook or Twitter, and get to know one of the greats of the game of softball.
Thanks to "Thor" for taking the time to do this interview! :)
Justin’s World: A lot has been said about the NPF’s mismanagement of the 2012 Championship Series, including the lack of a champion. In your opinion, what is the current state of the NPF as a league?
Thorson: I think the NPF is on the right track. I believe there are still some kinks that need to be worked out, but those will all be smoothed over in time. I know everyone in the front office, all the owners, and players are in it for the right reasons and want to do everything they can to succeed. There are improvements every year, but I think as a whole the league is still looking for that perfect formula to really grow into a big-time league. I think in a few more years’ time the league will figure it out and will really take off.
Justin’s World: A new NPF franchise was announced this year in the New York/New Jersey area. At the same time, the Carolina Diamonds folded after just one season of play. Current “state of the league” aside, where do you see the NPF in five or ten years in terms of development & expansion?
Thorson: Even though we are only a four team league, we have been relatively stable at four teams for the last few years. I know the Diamonds keep moving and haven't had a stable home in several years, but I feel like each franchise has a solid enough base to stay around for the long haul. I think that if the NPF can find ways to get on TV more often throughout the summer, we will be able to generate much more interest in the league. And with that interest come potential owners of new teams. What it will come down to is how much money the league can raise to pay for TV games. They've had some great fundraisers in the past like the Twenty for 20 Campaign, but they need more of those. I definitely see the league being around for a while, I don't see it going away. As far as adding more teams, I think there is major potential for expansion, but buying a team is quite a process. Only time will tell. But I hope one day to have a league with an east and west division, where there could be a real MLB style playoff.
Justin’s World: I read a while back that you have taken on a new title – strength and conditioning coach for the White Sands Pupfish, a professional baseball team. Tell me about the team and this position – it seems like a very cool opportunity!
Thorson: I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity! If I don't end up coaching softball as a career, I want to be a strength and conditioning coach. I know the manager of the team, and he knows about my career goals and asked me if I'd like to work with his team. Basically my job will be to run the team through morning workouts either at the field or in a weight room, and warm them up before games. It's going to be an awesome experience!
Justin’s World: If you could play another professional sport, what would it be?
Thorson: I would either swim or play soccer. I love those sports! I could see myself very happy playing either of those sports professionally.
Justin’s World: If a movie was going to be made about your life, who would play you? What would you title your film?
Thorson: I was having a hard time picking between Olivia Wilde and Kristen Wiig, but I think I have to pick Kristen Wiig just because of her comedy. Olivia Wilde has played in awesome nerdy rolls like in Tron: Legacy and in House. But, I feel like my life could easily be a comedy with some of the random things that have happened, which is why I chose Wiig to play me. As for the name of the movie, I think I would name it something cheesy like "The Little Engine that Could." I was never the biggest, tallest, fastest or most talented kid out there. I just worked harder and identified what my weaknesses and limitations were going to be and focused on different aspects of pitching to get me where I wanted to go.
Justin’s World: Say you’re Aladdin, and the genie has agreed to grant you three wishes. What would you ask for?
Thorson: Hmm....That's a really tough one. The first one would be for every person and society in the world have access to clean water and simple disease preventive measures, as well as necessary medicines and vaccines. Secondly, I think I would wish for money to be obliterated and go back to a barter and trade system, so everyone could potentially get all the things they need, as well as some other reasons. Thirdly, I think I would wish for professional women's sports to be equal to their male counterparts.