Friday, March 21, 2014

Bailey Watts Enters Justin's World

Yesterday, we featured former Houston Cougar Bailey Watts as the newest entry in our "Where Are They Now" series. Today, I have the privilege of writing about her again.

In preparation for yesterday's article, I got the opportunity to do something that I normally am unable to do and that's make contact with the player that I'm featuring before I write the article. Much as I'd like to do that on a regular basis, it just normally doesn't happen.

But lucky for me, that was not the case with Bailey. She answered some questions for me with some info that I used in yesterday's post, but I decided that the answers that I didn't use were too good to just sit in my inbox. With Bailey's permission, I'm presenting them to you today as a mini-interview.

As I mentioned yesterday, you can follow Bailey on Facebook and Twitter (@Bedub04).

Justin’s World: What factors led to the choice not to play your final season for Cougar Softball?
Bailey Watts: I had already had one surgery that was extremely extensive. I had thoracic outlet syndrome, which is a nerve damage issue caused by congestion of muscles. So they went in and took out my first rib, removed two muscles from my neck and scraped my nerves clean of everything that was causing pain. This surgery worked WONDERS! I had ZERO pain in my arm for the first time in my life, once it healed about a year after surgery. I rehabbed like crazy, but it just needed more time I suppose. My final season (2013), I had a lot of forearm and wrist issues. I went to the doctor a few times and we couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. I got an MRI done after [the] season was over and they found a tear in my wrist, so in July of 2013, I had surgery on that. I was physically worn out after that. I love the game so much and I had gone through so much physically and emotionally that I just felt it was time to hang up the cleats. It was probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make and I miss the game daily. 

Justin’s World: What have you been up to since your college career ended?
Bailey Watts: GOSH…that sounds so depressing: "since your college career ended" [laughs]. I have actually done some things that I never thought I would be able to do RIGHT out of college. I started doing an alternative teaching certification program, went on a teaching interview and got the job about 1.5 weeks before school started. I teach 6th grade social studies and coach 8th grade volleyball, basketball and softball. I was super stressed because I had zero teaching experience, but I have a great mentor and I have really enjoyed stepping into the 'grown up' world. I can't lie and say that I don't miss being in college and playing the game, but I really have loved learning to grow up and take care of myself for once. It is a completely different world outside of college. I do believe that being at UH and playing under Kyla really helped to prepare me for this though. She was adamant about us taking ownership for the things we did, good and bad….and I feel that I was a step ahead of the game when I was done with college. 

Justin’s World: How did you choose education as your career field?
Bailey Watts: I actually did not. I majored in History because an education degree normally takes about 5 years and I didn't think I would have to red shirt when I declared my major. So I went a different route. I actually started grad school in curriculum and instruction my final semester at UH. I plan on going back to grad school within the next year, but this time I will go back and get into an administration or leadership program. I would like to be an athletic director at some point in my career, as well as open up my own sports facility. 

Justin’s World: Have you or do you think you will regret your choice to forgo your senior season and go right into the workforce?
Bailey Watts: This one is really tough on me. It was when I made the decision, even. Like I said, I miss the game every day and I don't think that I will ever lose my passion for what lit a fire in me for the majority of my life. I would love a chance to play in the professional league at some point, but who knows? I don't think I regret my decision, but I do sometimes wonder what it would be like if I chose to stay. I just think that physically I was beat down. I did a lot of soul searching and just felt that choosing to go into the workforce was what God's plan for me was. I felt that it was time to teach what I know about the game and go ahead and walk over to the other side of the lines. 

Justin’s World: Do you think you'll be involved with the game of softball at some level in the future?

Bailey Watts: YES! Without a doubt. This is the first year for the middle school where I teach to have softball and I am so happy to announce that I will be starting that program. I also still give lessons and do everything I can to teach these young girls what I learned from some of the greatest throughout my time playing. I am hopeful that I will be able to make a bigger impact in the softball world at some point in the near future. I am definitely open to all options!

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