Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Harmony Schwethelm Steps Into Justin's World

Photo: Baylor Softball via Twitter
Though not quite to the level of Jim Morris, the former Major Leaguer that Dennis Quaid portrayed in the movie The Rookie, when Harmony Schwethelm takes the field for the NPF's Texas Charge this summer, she'll be one of the "more seasoned" rookies the league has seen in some time. Instead of a one-and-done pro career straight out of college, Schwethelm is making a comeback some nearly ten years after her collegiate career ended.

A 2006 Baylor graduate, Schwethelm was an all-American and all-Big 12 award winner for the Bears and ranks in the top ten in nearly all of the program's top offensive statistical categories. Schwethelm's speed was her go-to asset, as she ended her career atop the Bears' all-time leaderboard with more than 100 career stolen bases.

She was drafted with the 13th overall selection in the NPF draft in 2006, selected by the Philadelphia Force behind such players as Cat Osterman, Andrea Duran, and Alicia Hollowell, and in front of such players as Amanda Williams and Lauren Lappin.

Get to know Harmony as she talks about the learning-curve of getting back into competitive play, her goals for this NPF season, and what led her to decide to "jump back in" in 2017.


Justin’s World of Softball: How did you get started playing softball?
Harmony Schwethelm: I grew up playing sports – soccer, swimming, tennis, baseball, track, basketball – whatever was out there to compete in. I played baseball from when I was 3 or 4 and continued when my family lived overseas in Saudi Arabia, until we returned for my freshman year of High School at Smithson Valley (in Bulverde, TX just north of San Antonio). At that time, my plan was to play soccer in college until some timely events and some magnificent people happened in my life. Wayne & Lisa Daigle, Smithson Valley’s Softball Coaching duo then & now, appealed to my competitive side and convinced me to come out for a tryout. The way that the passion and love they had for the game combined with their knowledge & competitive drive sparked that same fire within me & I was hooked!
JWOS: What led you to Baylor?
Harmony: I was looking for a school/program that I could make an impact on… I wanted to be a part of the building process. Baylor not only fit my style of play, but also had the strong academics to match.
JWOS: Was playing pro ball right out of college something you considered?
Harmony: Out of college, I was drafted to both the NPF & the PFX tour. I played with the PFX tour for 3 years until I stepped away to commit to a full time job at Spurs Sports & Entertainment in Sponsorships & Partnerships.

JWOS: What led to the decision to play professionally now, at this point in time?
Harmony: A combination of timing, a still burning passion, competitive drive, & opportunity aligned. When the Texas Charge moved down to the Central Texas area and made some front office changes, it sparked some conversations that lead to me playing again. I guess I never really quit the game or retired; just took a long hiatus! Having been involved with sports on both the player & business side, I was attracted to the opportunity to further grow this game in action!

JWOS: Tell me about your post-college career endeavors; will spending the summer(s) in the NPF affect your job in any way?
Harmony: After getting my bachelor’s degree and finishing my eligibility at Baylor, I continued my education there, getting a Master’s in Sports Management. While still at Baylor, I did a number of jobs: radio color commentating for the team for a year, teacher of records in the HHPR department as my graduate assistantship, server/bartender, & played for the PFX Tour. My master’s degree internship took me back to San Antonio, working for Spurs Sports & Entertainment in the Sponsorship & Partnership department. I worked at SS&E for five years in a couple of different roles before I quit my job to get back involved, hands-on, with athletes and people as a personal trainer/coach. I currently do most of my work on the softball side, though I plan on expanding to other sports, as well as more of the general public, and to open my own training facility. I’ve worked with the Texas Bombers as a coach & director of player development and I do a lot of individual/group lessons. Where playing in the NPF this summer will likely take me away from lessons and coaching during that time, it will hopefully provide me a platform and help make my brand more visible and relevant.
JWOS: What are you most excited for in playing this season?
Harmony: The challenge of getting back out there and being relevant is huge. The last three years, I’ve been coming at the game from a different angle with coaching and lessons. That has allowed me to gain so much insight on the strategy and fundamentals of the game, but there hasn’t been a day [that] I didn’t want to be out there and do it physically. I look forward to the opportunity to show the players that I coach & instruct and put in action what I tell them… especially the intangibles! I’m also very excited about being on a team again, building relationships & working and fighting towards a common goal.

JWOS: Do you feel like there’ll be any ‘relearning’ or ‘rust-losing’ period after so long away?
Harmony: ABSOLUTELY! Going through that right now… knocking [the rust] off! The game continues to evolve and get better, so I’ve been studying up so that I can be the best-prepared as possible.

JWOS: Give me your thoughts on the NPF’s recent development and future outlook.
Harmony: I’m excited for the resurgence and continued growth of this game. With softball & baseball back in the Olympics, I think that will only increase. The game has a lot of great role models that played and have moved on to other impactful roles/jobs, are currently playing and setting examples on and off the field, and future pros that are working the grind right now to grow into the best. If all of those pieces continue to do what they do, the growth & reach of the game should translate into fans, season ticket holders & sponsors – all of which are crucial for the league’s success & growth!

JWOS: What are your personal goals for the coming NPF season?
Harmony: Helping lead the Charge to an NPF Championship! We are on a mission to make waves – it was part of the attraction in jumping back in. I hope to impact that physically, mentally, and emotionally, both on and off the field.

JWOS: Do you foresee yourself having a long-term career in the NPF?

Harmony: Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it. I’m focusing on the upcoming season and getting my mind & body ready to go 100!

1 comment:

  1. Harmony retired before the season. Is there any word on why?