Wear the 'W' with pride

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Join sophomore Maria Van Abel as she talks about the first week of chalk talks in today's Badger Blog.

After a year of being a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin under my belt, I was anxious to get back on campus. I was happy to spend a couple of months at home in Kaukauna with my family and friends, and then it was back to the beautiful city of Madison. We jumped right into things with our chalk talk meetings the first week of school and got a chance to look at and prepare for the year ahead. 

With a room full of excited teammates and friends who had been separated for what seemed like forever, coach Healy officially kicked of the new academic and athletic year. I believe it is so important to be reminded of the incredible opportunity that all of us student-athletes have here at Wisconsin, and our coaching staff does a great job of doing just that. Between the prestigious level of academics, quality of athletic facilities and staff, and the overall experience we obtain here, it would be difficult to undermine the opportunity we have all been blessed with. As coach Alvarez says, "wear the 'W' with pride." 

This brings us to one of the key points Coach Healy touched on- "appreciate what you are given and be passionate about what you do." As a team, appreciation and passion are necessary building blocks for reaching our goal of becoming a championship program. Of course, this can only come through hard work. This was the second of three things coach emphasized throughout the meeting. This combination of qualities can help any team develop and achieve success. 

The last of the three points coach reflected on happens to be one of the most focused on points in our program- "be a family." Leaving home and taking on the challenge of being a Divison I student-athlete is no easy task; however, with the relentless support given to each individual on our softball team by our coaching staff and faculty, the constant reinforcement of 'family' makes the transition one of ease. This family atmosphere creates something more than just a softball team that we will play on for four years; but more importantly, it is a constant and continual support system surrounding us during our time at Wisconsin. Between balancing academics, athletics, and everything else that college may throw at us, having a group of girls and coaches who genuinely care for one another makes this task achievable. 

The senior class also gave their presentation this same day which reiterated this concept. Each of the seven seniors spoke about different ways to use the all of the different resources we are given here at UW to be as successful as possible. Between academics, athletics, time management skills and ways to get involved, the seniors did a great job of making all of us aware of the resources and people that are available to help us through our years in Madison. It was a great way to start of the year, and we are excited to see what the year has in store for Badger softball!

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