We Are Warpaint

Softball is not a major... Do what you LOVE

Alex Booker is an individual that is the epitome of what we consider well rounded.  Her passion and drive fuel her aspirations, but what makes her truly exceptional is her understanding that she has arrived at her accomplishments through hard work, perseverance and un-wavering support.  Her platform as a professional athlete is something she takes extremely seriously, because being a role model to the next generation of softball players in not only an honor, but a duty.  There is an element of grace that she exudes as she describes her journey from competitive little sister, to passionate cook and explorer to professional athlete and coach.  

We Are Warpaint is proud to support women like Alex, because she understands that the experiences she's consumed shed perspective on how to impact the next generation in an effort to help guide them toward their passions.  She impressively does all of this through the medium of softball...

We Are Warpaint is proud to be a part of Alex Booker's journey and even more elated to provide her the platform she deserves.  

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  Softball is not a major... Do what you LOVE

WP:  How has softball impacted your life?

AB:  Softball has not only impacted my life but it has become a way of life. As cliché as that sounds, I really could not imagine my life without it and to this day I have been given more and more opportunities to grow through this sport than any other segment of my life. I began by playing baseball when I was younger and never actually grew fond of this sport until my choice to play softball at the collegiate level was before me. Originally, I entered college as an architect major but realized that I could not spend my entire life without sports as my true career. So here we are!

WP:  You are a graduate from the University of Illinois, where you consistently lead your team in batting average & stolen bases. What was it like to compete at a Division I program?

AB:  To compete at a Division I softball program it took resiliency and true passion. There are numerous opportunities to play softball around the country but to compete for a Division I school meant much more than the on field commitment. We were pushed in the classroom academically where we needed to meet certain academic standards at a top-25 rated public university.  We needed to commit to a set number of hours for study table, mandatory checkups with our athletic trainers, weight training at odd hours, complying with any aspect of school which non-student athletes would have to, and all of this while attempting to dabble in the social setting around campus.

WP:  You are currently a graduate assistant at Texas A&M University-Commerce, what’s it like coaching softball vs. playing softball?

AB:  Coaching vs. Playing: Round 1 *Ding* *Ding* *Ding*

Where to start? Coaching and playing are definitely two completely different sides of sports.  To date, I'm tipping my toe into the huge lake of coaching collegiately but I will it was a tough transition to responsible for players rather than focusing on myself as an athlete. Playing is great, nothing to worry about, coaches prepare us for games and we get to play ball and have fun. On the other side of things, I feel like the worried mother when I'm coaching because I have no control of what actually happens in the game besides trusting that the preparation I've given my players is enough.

I always have the mindset to beat the person in my position on the other team when competing, but now that turns over to me attempting to beat the other coaching staff and see who has the better game strategy at the end of the day. Of course there are overlapping themes to the game of softball and simply having respect for the game itself is always a must. Keeping that in mind, coaching is definitely a great learning opportunity for me because I'm seeing the game from a different angle and now I can understand why I may have driven some of my former coaches absolutely nuts!  Sorry about that coaches if you’re reading this...

WP:  What person(s) have impacted your softball career and why?

AB: The two people who have impacted my softball and sports career in general the most would have to be my mom and my brother. When I was growing up, my mom would put me in every sport possible so that I could try them all and make a decision as to which was my favorite. In the mean time she became my biggest cheerleader over the years. Although my mom may have not known each and every rule of the dozens of different sports I was playing, she has been the parent that has always quietly snuck around to the open space of whatever field I was participating on and kept to herself knowing that just having her present meant more to me than any other gesture. Enjoying the atmosphere of each of my sports was what my mom was all about and she continues to do so with my professional career, always picking a seat where she can get the best view of me and shy away from the rowdy fans.

Now, my brother on the other hand, was definitely a more hands on influence on my softball career. As we grew together, just about anyone who knew us when we were younger would mistake us for twins because we both competed on the same teams (me on the boys teams) and we always looked about the same age. Although he is just less than a year and a half older than me, we were able to participate together in all facets of the sports world. This absolutely was my pushing factor to being competitive and learning how to toughen up to play with the boys. From street basketball to baseball to soccer to racing to a roller coaster ride at a theme park, our athletic abilities were always pushed by each other.

WP:  What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?

AB:  I LOVE to cook. Most people see me as the rough and tough athlete on the field but I have a much different side of me at home. I enjoy cooking and playing a more motherly role for any of my teammates, friends, and family. Making sure other people are taken care of is one of my priorities, and I literally wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing that I didn’t put my best effort forward in that sense.

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

AB:  I have two favorite quotes, both of which I like to live by:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.” –Dr. Seuss

“Respect all, fear none.”

WP:  When you’re not playing or coaching softball what do you like to do?

AB:  When I am not playing or coaching I like to do lots of things! Go to the field to hit…wait that’s playing. Let’s see, I also like watching softball on TV…wait that’s coaching. Really I promise I do things besides softball!

Only kidding, I truly enjoy being out in nature! Going from snowboarding to hiking in the mountains - I enjoy it all. Traveling is one of my main hobbies. I enjoy seeing the different landscapes of our country and hopefully one day I will have the time to go overseas and see another continent! Living an active lifestyle is not only something that I enjoy because of the health reasons but because it is my true release. Enjoying a walk and talk with my mom is something I try to incorporate into my schedule at least once every week when I am in the Chicagoland area. We have hiked mountains together so it seems fitting that we skip catching up on the phone and just talk in person while seeing some amazing scenery! 

WP:  Describe the day you officially signed on to play professional softball: What was it like? How did you feel?

AB:  The day I officially signed on to play professional softball was honestly a dream come true. There is no other way to describe it. Having another opportunity to play fastpitch softball competitively was the greatest gift I could have received last year. I was honestly stunned because I had thought that my career may have been coming to an end. Of course I would pushed and made my way onto a team eventually because of my drive but I am very fortunate that the Chicago Bandits organization was the team to put up with me last season.

Although signing the first time was an amazing experience, I think what was even more exciting for me was when I was asked if I would like to come back for a second season as a Chicago Bandit. I couldn't and didn't turn that offer down and I am more than excited to be continuing my professional career by learning next to some of the best players in the world.

WP:  If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring collegiate softball player, what would it be?

AB:  LOVE what you do. We all have different passions and I think everyone should absolutely love what they choose to do with their life. Softball is not a major so make sure that the college selection process has more to do with what you want to spend your life doing rather than 100% being related to the playing experience. There is much more that goes along with choosing a college than softball itself so if I could give any advice, it would be to choose a school that you will absolutely love for many reasons. For example, one of the main reasons I chose to play at the University of Illinois was because they had the best architecture school in the nation at the time—yes that’s right, I wanted to be an architect at one point. After I made the choice for the best school for my aspirations I paired that with the sport that I love making my collegiate experience impactful on so many levels. Not to mention, if you want to one day play professional softball, you have to graduate college. There is not a single player in the NPF who is not a college graduate, so in order to play, you have to have the book smarts as well!

WP:  If you could design the next We Are Warpaint color, what would it be?

AB:  Because orange has just come out as a new color, I would say that the next color I would want would either have to be a chrome or charcoal color. Something that says, I’m tough but still has a little shimmer!

Written by Jenn Holt — July 31, 2015

YOUR BEST FIT

Lindsay first caught our attention at the beginning of last year when a picture surfaced of her hitting a home run and taking Pride Warpaint along for the victory lap.  

The inspiration of We Are Warpaint has always been rooted in the spirit of the competitor. Lindsay is an instrumental layer in defining the face of We Are Warpaint, because the impact she's making on the sport of softball is one of grace, grit and necessity.  It's imperative to set goals and then work hard to achieve them. But, it's equally important to understand the motivation behind those goals to make sure that the direction you're headed is the right fit for you.  

Lindsay was nominated as June's Warrior Spotlight because of her solid character in the classroom, on the field and with the relationships in her life.  There are so many choices to make as a young athlete starts to show promise for a collegiate career and too often the path of Division I athletics is viewed as the only option.  It's important to note that Division I athletics is not THE way to a successful college career, it's way to a successful college career.  The athletes that understand this basic fact make more informed decisions of what programs best suit their abilities, their learning style and their comfort.  It's THOSE athletes that lead and accomplish successful college careers because they looked at the options in front of them and chose the best fit for them and not for anyone else.  

Lindsay understood these factors as she decided on a future path for her eduction and her softball career. Lindsay's sacrifice, effort and development will not be any less than any other athlete as these opportunities of growth are proportionate to the experience.   We Are Warpaint could not be more proud than to highlight such an exemplary individual and we would like to wish Lindsay nothing but the best as she is sure to make an impact with her 2016 Coyote teammates in the fall.

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  YOUR BEST FIT

WP:  What do you love most about softball?

LM: There are so many different aspects to softball that I love. I love hitting, being able to play multiple positions, which are pitching and outfield. I also love being able to play with a great group of girls who are like a second family to me. Softball brings a lot to your life beyond just the love of the game.

WP:  You’re a RHP, what is the hardest and most rewarding aspect of pitching?

LM:  As a RHP, there are some tough times and also very rewarding moments. To me, striking someone out with a low count is very rewarding or just producing ground balls for my infield and knowing that they will get the out. I am not a power pitcher, so my job is to get ground balls, which I usually do. I have a lot of movement on my ball which helps me a lot.

WP:  What person(s) have impacted your softball career and why?

LM:  One person that has impacted my softball career is my hitting coach, Lacey Smale. Lacey has been my hitting coach for many years now and has helped me get to where I am today. She isn’t just a great hitting instructor; she talks to me about the mental side of the game and is someone I can rely on for guidance in my life. She’s always there to help. Lacey played college softball at Santa Clara University and has had great success in her life.

WP:  What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?

LM:  There aren’t many things that people don’t know about me. I am a very outgoing person and am always expressing myself. However, one thing most people wouldn’t know about me is that I used to be an Irish dancer for about three years. I use to compete competitively. I gave up dancing to focus on softball. I don’t seem like the dancing type because I pretty much have two left feet. My dad always jokes about how they should’ve named me Grace.

 

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

LM:  My favorite quote is “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

 

WP:  You signed a letter of intent with Kansas Wesleyan University (congratulations!) how did you decide that the Coyotes were the right school for you?

LM:  In August of 2014, I signed my letter of intent with Kansas Wesleyan University. This was one of the most exciting moments in my life. Kansas Wesleyan was the perfect school for me whether it came to academics or softball. It was small, had a beautiful campus, great coach, amazing softball team, and a safe and nice surrounding city of Salina.

 

WP:  What song or artist are you currently listening to?

LM:  There are many different artists that I’m listening too. My favorite song right now is Dear Future Husband by Megan Trainor. A few other artists that I like are Luke Bryan, David Guetta, Ariana Grande, Nicki Manaj, and Sam Smith.

 

WP:  When you’re not playing softball, what do you like to do?

LM:  Outside of softball there are many things that I love to do in my free time. I love to swim, go to the beach, hangout with my friends, go shopping, and get my nails done.

WP:  If you could give one piece of advice to a young softball player just starting the recruiting process, what would it be?

LM:  If I could give a young softball player recruiting advice, I would say to start the process as soon as you can. It doesn’t hurt to start sending emails to college coaches at an early age. The earlier they notice you, the better.

 

WP:  If you could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?

LM:  If I could design the next Warpaint color I would do a sparkly pink. Pink is my favorite color and a little sparkle never hurts!

FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT

Sarah Prezioso radiates a passion, drive and appetite for life that is infectious.  She identifies with being a part of something bigger than herself and continues to make an impact on the sport of softball and those around her with a killer combination of both grit and grace.

As Sarah balances being a pro softball player and collegiate coach she continues to approach each aspect of the game with a drive and attitude that is contagious.  Which is why we are extremely proud to have Sarah as part of the We Are Warpaint family and share her story in this month's Warrior Spotlight.

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT

WP:  How has softball impacted your life?

SP:  Softball has pretty much shaped who I am as an individual. It has helped me build lifelong friendships as well as opened doors and presented me with some amazing opportunities that I am extremely grateful for.

WP:  You are a graduate from Temple University, where you hold career records; what was it like to compete at Division I program?

SP:  Competing at a Division I program is something that I knew I wanted to do ever since I started playing softball.  I knew I wanted to compete at the highest collegiate level possible.  I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I was determined to do whatever it takes.  Although Temple isn’t a Division I softball powerhouse, it was close to home, a city atmosphere that I was looking for, and felt like home away from home.  All of these important factors went in to making my final decision.

As for breaking and holding career records, that just comes with working hard and giving 100 percent every day and with every play.  I wasn’t looking to break records or hit home runs, but rather just playing the game I love with passion and effort.

WP:  What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?

SP:  One thing most people don’t know about me is that I am a Foster dog parent for the rescue group “Dachshund Rescue of Bucks County” in New Jersey.  So technically I’m a foster dog mom for two adorable little Dachshund senior dogs, Ruby and Hershey.  I’m literally obsessed with them.  Oh, and I can juggle.

WP:  You are currently an assistant softball coach with the Scarlet Raiders, what’s it like coaching softball vs. playing softball?

SP:  To be honest starting off I wasn’t sure how I would feel about coaching.  But now I truly LOVE it.  I love my team and I love making a difference in their lives by the way they play and think about the game every day.  Seeing the smiles on their faces when they win or get a base hit is amazing!  The feeling of seeing the difference you make in a group of people is a rewarding experience.

WP:  What person(s) have impacted your softball career and why?

SP:  I have had a great deal of help and support throughout my many years of playing, but my family definitely is number one. They have always encouraged and motivated me to be the best I can be even when I doubted myself.  My dad was my mentor since I first started playing and my mom my biggest fan.

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

SP:  I have a couple favorite quotes but my favorite ones are Bible verses.  Since I make God the number one priority in my life whether playing softball or in life, I try to always remember these two:

Philippians 4: 6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.  And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 23: 3-4

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

 

WP:  When you’re not playing or coaching softball what do you like to do?

SP:  When I’m not playing or coaching I really enjoy traveling. I love exploring and seeing the natural beauty of the world. With traveling comes food, and I love food.  So traveling lets me try authentic foods.  I am more than willing to try every food at least once.  Spontaneous adventures are also my thing, and some of the best times I have had have come unplanned.  Although I don’t really get to travel as often as I like, it is something I would like to make more time for.

WP:  Describe the day you officially signed on to play professional softball: What was it like? How did you feel?

 SP:  The day I signed to play professional softball was pretty exciting and overwhelming.  I got a call the day after I graduated college asking me if I wanted to be apart of the Pennsylvania Rebellion.  I definitely remember smiling as I talked to the coach on the phone, I accepted and then asked when I was expected to report to Washington, PA.  The coach then asked if I could get there within the next two days.  So I was on a plane to Western Pennsylvania within the next day.  That was the overwhelming part, since I wasn’t even home from school for more than 48 hours but it was all worth it!  I was super excited to be able to play professional softball.  Not many people can say they have done that, let alone from New Jersey.

 

WP:  If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring collegiate softball player, what would it be?

SP:  A great piece of advice I could give would be to “Fake it until you make it and fake it and until you find it.  The energy and attitude we display is contagious.”

This is a quote by Brian Cain, one of the most respected sports psychologist and mental conditioning coaches in the entire world who I have been following for a couple years now.  He makes two great points that I always make sure I keep in the back of my head when playing.  It really helped me through the pro-league this past summer and even during my collegiate career.  The energy and attitude you display is contagious. Anything and everything you do on the field is being watched by someone.  You never know where your next opportunity lies.  It could be with the coach in the other dugout, a fan in the stands, or with a teammate.  Attitude is everything.  You never know who you are inspiring.

WP:  If you could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?

SP:  If I could design a Warpaint color it would probably be… PURPLE!

Written by Jenn Holt — April 02, 2015

#LikeAGirl

Morgan Smith is a catcher from Davenport, IA and was nominated as April's Warrior Spotlight by being described as someone who has a "ton of spunk & grit and is an all around great kid".  Like most Warriors we have a pleasure to connect with, the more we learned about Morgan, the more we understood why she stands out as a competitor.  Her Twitter page quotes Muhammed Ali's line, "If you dream of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologize."

It was then that we realized this is a young woman who is striving to get better on a daily basis. She continues to be a student of the game and pushes herself in an effort to achieve the opportunity to play collegiate softball.  We are truly honored to detail Morgan's journey as a ball player and proud to highlight her as April's Warrior Spotlight.

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  #LIKEAGIRL

 

WP:  Why softball? 

MS:  Softball was something I thought I would really like to play, because the team was like a close knit family where you are a band of sisters who drive each other to that next level.  I love my softball family!!!

WP:  What does it mean to play #LikeAGirl?

MS:  Some might think it’s an insult to play Like a Girl, but to me it’s a complement.  I look at all the great softball players out there who love to compete and think to myself that being able to hit, run, catch and play the sport I love is the epitome of playing #LikeAGirl!!!  

Someday I'd like to play at that next level or coach the next generation of girls to help them achieve their full potential.

 

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

MS:  Live 2 Bring It 

        -- Monica Abbott

 

WP:  You catch for the Quad City Firebirds, what is the hardest and most incredible thing about catching?

MS:  The hardest thing about catching is handling a pitcher's confidence when they're having an off day and having a tough time hitting their spots.  

On the flip side, some of the most incredible things about catching are throwing out a smart runner who may have gotten a big jump to steal a base or when you work a pitch that you know has the potential to be a ball, but frame the pitch just right helping the umpire call a strike.

WP:  What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?

MS:  One thing most people don't know is that I also swim for my high school team.

 

WP:  You hit left handed and throw right… how’d that happen and what is your dominant hand?

MS:  I'm naturally right handed, but we didn't have any left handed hitters on my 12U team and took it upon myself to practice hitting left handed. I worked out on a tee every day until I became comfortable with the left handed swing and now I hit better left handed than I ever did right.

WP:  What song or artist are you currently listening to?

MS:  I don’t listen to a lot of music, but when I do it's the Georgia Florida Line.

 

WP:  What person(s) have made the biggest impact in your life?

MS:  My Blackhawk Coach, Carrie Calderon, was able to build my confidence as a hitter by breaking down my offensive game physically and mentally and then giving me the tools to rebuild my swing to be both stronger and faster.  Her confidence in my ability helped me believe that I was capable of being a great hitter as well.

Thank you Carrie for everything you have done for me.

WP:  If you could attend any college, what would it be and why?

MS:  I had the opportunity to verbal at Benedictine University, but two months after I had officially committed to the University I was informed that they were discontinuing all of their sports programs.   At the time it was a lot to process and I was extremely disappointed, but I look forward to considering other college opportunities that will be a great fit for me as a student and athlete.

*Watch Morgan crush her Catching Drills

 

WP:  If you could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?

MS:  Breast Cancer Pink for awareness and I'd call it Strength Warpaint!

FINE LINE BETWEEN GOOD & GREAT: KATIE REID CROSSES THE LINE

Each month, We Are Warpaint has the pleasure to connect with Warriors who strive to make an impact on their own passions and in the process impact those around them. That is how Katie Reid made it onto We Are Warpaint's radar.  We received a Warrior Spotlight submission simply stating if you don't know about this kid...you should.  A statement like that naturally peaked our curiosity and what we found far exceeded the standard assumption of what we assume to be a great athlete.  

Softball is a sport of statistics.  It's a sport that records outcomes and invariably skews the definition of success.  Rarely does softball scratch the surface to the multitude of factors that play a part in developing the many successes a total athlete achieves that are beyond statistics of a ball game.  

This is why the line between good and great is so fine.  It's the details that distinguish the good from the great.   It's those details that We Are Warpaint found while researching the background of Katie Reid as a person and an athlete.

It is our pleasure to highlight Katie Reid as this month's Warrior Spotlight.

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:

FINE LINE BETWEEN GOOD & GREAT:  KATIE REID CROSSES THE LINE

 

WP:  Why softball? What is it about this sport that gets you to continue to get better and compete on a daily basis?

KR:  When I was 9 years old I started playing softball and I fell in love with it right away. Because softball is so physically demanding it forces you to be at the top of your game all times.  You need to be mentally strong, an accurate fielder, have a consistently strong bat, a fast base runner, a smart player and a team leader.  When you love something, you play with all of your heart and that is what makes me want to push myself harder!

WP:  You write a blog called Dirt From The Infield and you tackle a ton of topics that are all related to the total experience of softball life.  What inspired you to start this blog & share your journey?

KR:  I thought it would be cool to keep a version of a diary about my journey to become a college softball athlete.  Then I realized my blog would allow coaches to get to know me as a person.  What I really love about writing my blog is how it makes me work harder and helps inspire other girls too!

 

WP:  What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?

KR:  I can talk and sing with my mouth closed.

 

WP:  What person(s) have made the biggest impact in your life?

KR:  As expected the two people who made the biggest impact in my life are my parents.  My Mom encourages me to be independent, make my own decisions and is my biggest fan.  My Dad pushes me harder, stresses the importance of integrity and character.  Most importantly they both love, trust and respect me.  I’m very blessed to have such an amazing family.

WP:  You touched on some key points in your blog about finding the right college that fits you personally.  What schools have sparked your interest and why?

KR:  I used to want the BIG D1 dream to play for an Oklahoma or an Alabama but the reality is that even if you are good enough to play at a power house D1 team, it might not be the best fit for you!  My former coach and mentor, Ashley Muenz, (former ASU National Champion) gave me the best advice a coach has ever given me:

 

Decide what you REALLY want from a college/athlete experience?  Do you want to play ball and be a starter or are you okay with possibly being benched your freshman year? Do you want to go to a huge school with 50,000+ students or would you perform better at a school that is smaller?  What do you want to do when you grow up?  Do you want to live in a big city or a smaller college town?  How close or far do you want to live from home?  

 

These are all things girls really need to know before their junior year.  Ashley’s advice made me completely rethink what I want for my future.

I need to play on a very competitive team that is led by coaches who will push us hard and inspire team unity.  My other passion is to serve our Country to defend against terrorism either with Home Land Security or the NSA.  By defining what I REALLY want from my college and softball career experience has helped me define the characteristics I look for in a school.  The following schools have these characteristics and would be a great fit for me:

 

Norwich University, Felecian College, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and Marion Military.

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

KR:  "Be the student-athlete Coaches dream of"

This is my mission statement that I wrote when I was 14.  I made a huge wall stencil of this quote, which is above my desk in my bedroom as well as on mirrors and notebooks and I live by it every day!

 

WP:  In your blog you talk about your coach calling you out for being mentally weak at the plate.  How did you deal with that reality check and what steps have you taken to strengthen that part of your game?

KR:  Great coaches tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.  Be grateful if you’re lucky enough for a coach to call you out . . . because it means they see greatness in you.

My friends say I’m the “nice girl” but you cannot play softball nice . . . you play softball to win, so I made it my mission to get mean.  I started cross training with Muay Thai and boxing which was a huge help.

I started reading books to become mentally stronger.  Here are my top two favorite books Mental Toughness a Champions State of Mind and Gold Medal Mind you can pick up either book and just read a quick chapter to get pumped up.

WP:  What are Swag Sessions?

KR:  Swag sessions are another big part of what also helped me to become mentally stronger.   It was my Mom’s idea and I hated it at first but she was right... swag sessions really work.

You know that girl that acts like she is the BOSS when she steps up to plate?  The girl that pitchers fear?Well, you want to be her!  Practice being that girl and really go over the top!  My Mom encouraged me to say what I was thinking (or should be thinking) like “I’m gonna drive this ball down your throat” I’m sure you get the idea.

Now before every game I practice swag sessions for about 10 minutes and it makes a big difference when I step up to the plate.

WP:  What song or artist are you currently listening to?

KR:  When I’m working out I listen to rock music to get pumped up but when I’m driving or studying I listen to Christian pop.

 

WP:  If you could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?

KR:  I will get back to you on what color I would like added . . . . after I verbal!

 

 

DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

I had the pleasure to connect with Kelly Campbell when we hosted the 2014 One Dream Awards together in Las Vegas.  She was warm, friendly, funny and gorgeous.  I was immediately intrigued by her passion for sport and her involvement with the Legends Football League (LFL). Female, tackle football in bikini style uniforms?  I had so many questions...  

Kelly took any snap judgements I had about the perception of the league and allowed me to ask the blunt questions.  Do you get paid?  What's your training regimen like?  Is it hard to gain respect from fans/outsiders like myself?  But, the real question on my mind was, why do you do it at all?  Without hesitation, she told me it was because she loved to compete.  She eloquently went on to explain that her involvement in the league made her a stronger person mentally, physically and emotionally and at that moment, I knew this was a fellow female athlete that deserved my respect and support.

Kelly is a 5 year veteran with the LFL and is currently the Corner Back with the Las Vegas Sin.  She played for the Baltimore Charm from 2010 - 2013 as Defensive Back and during that time was nominated 3 times for the Most Improved Player of the Year and won in 2013.  Additionally, she was named to the All-Fantasy Eastern Conference Team in 2013 & Team Mexico in 2012.  Lastly, probably most importantly, she won the Baltimore Charm Most Dedicated Player Award in 2013.  Competing in the LFL is nothing but commitment. The athletes in the LFL do not get paid for their involvement with the league, but this does not stop them from giving their fans their best performance on game night.  Their passion for what they do is what drives them to continue to compete at the level that is expected of them.

Anyone who is willing to grind at something they love, work hard to achieve goals & be willing to take criticism regarding the LFL and its perception is truly someone We Are Warpaint is humbled to know and respect.

We Are Warpaint could not be more proud to highlight, Kelly Campbell of the Las Vegas Sin Legends Football League. 

 

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

 

WP:  You graduated from Penn State with a background in competitive cheerleading & dance.  How were you introduced to the LFL & the Baltimore Charm?

KC:  During my senior year at PSU, I took Judo for fun with my friend, Shelley.  She was tall, beautiful and one of the sweetest girls ever... but, not the most athletic person.  After college, she was pursing modeling and she posted a photo in a bikini type outfit and she was holding a football.  I asked her what it was for and she said she was playing women's football and it was tackle.  I was a little taken back, but she was super into it and working really hard at it.  I thought it was really cool and followed her season with the Philly Passion in 2009.  That next spring in 2010, she told me Baltimore was next on the list to get a team and become a franchise.  I went to the first tyrout ever in May 2010 and that was it!  There were over 100 girls and they selected 25 to a mini-camp, which just happened to be held in my hometown of Frederick, MD.  I 100% believe it was fate.  We practiced in my hometown for 2.5 years, and even in my parent's backyard between season 2 and 3.

WP:  You're a 5 year veteran with the LFL, how has competing in the LFL impacted your life?

KC:  I was always involved in fierce competition with sport.  Even though I was a dancer and a cheerleader, I was always competing on various teams and usually two teams at once.  I took karate, played baseball, soccer and varsity lacrosse in high school.  

When you leave college, unless you are one of the few women who go on to play professional sports or have a chance to compete as an Olympic athlete, there are few options to continue athletics and receive that same internal fulfillment that a competitive sport provides.  The LFL helped me discover a new passion for sports and football.  It also helped me become a stronger person physically, mentally and emotionally.  What you learn and do on the field directly translates to life.  I stopped being such a pushover and learned to stand up for myself.  I learned how to walk away and take chances and risks.  I can appreciate women and how strong they are, and how many of us just LOVE football and simply want to play.  

 

 

LFL USA, Postseason, Journey as a Champion ]

 

 

 

Because of my experience with the LFL I have definitely become more understanding of all of the different types of women I have the opportunity to come across.  You learn that everyone has a story.  I have made countless friends and memories while playing for the LFL.  I have traveled to 3 countries: Mexico, Canada and Australia.  I learned how to believe in myself and perhaps most importantly, I moved across the country alone, from Maryland to Nevada to work for the league.  I had no idea if it would work out, I didn't know a single person in Nevada and unexpectedly I ended up meeting my future husband, who ironically enough is from Maryland!

 

So, to sum it up, the LFL has completely changed my life and it is amazing to look back at the journey I've been on over the last few years.  You have to take life as it comes and like football, you can't hesitate, or you might miss the opportunity for a big play.

 

WP:  What is one thing most people don't know about you?

KC:  My two favorite to share are:

        1)  I've had a titanium ankle that includes 7 screws and a plate going on 13 years.

        2)  I am fluent in American Sign-Language as my youngest brother is deaf.

 

WP:  What is a typical training day for you as you prepare for your season?

KC:  There is usually 2 days of team practice on Saturday and Sunday.  Practice would range anywhere form 3-6 hours of drills, conditioning, scrimmage, etc.  In addition, I have always taken at least 2 weeknights for personal training.  I've worked with multiple trainers to develop a sport training program that focuses on speed, agility, power and anything that will translate to the field.

 

WP:  What are 3 things that most people don't know about the LFL and the 1 thing you hope they take away from watching an LFL game?

KC:  1)  We are the most  passionate group of women playing a sport in the entire world.  We love football and most of us understand more about the game than you could imagine.

2)  We do not get paid.  Yes, it would be nice, but we aren't there yet as a sport or as a society.  When we do get there, I may be really old, BUT, those of us who have been playing for 4 or 5 years will know that we paved the way to help shape the future.

3)  Legends, lingerie or whatever name you want to call the league, we don't care.  We've heard it all.  If what initially gets you to our games is that you think we're hot or look good in uniforms or any number of reasons, I promise we will absolutely change your mind and make you forget about all of that in the first few seconds after kick off.  

This will be my one take away as well - once you see it's real, respect us.  That's all.

 

WP:  Do you have a favorite quote?

KC:  I have two:

        "Purpose may point you in the right direction, but it is passion that propels you."

        "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

 

WP:  You recently returned from Australia where they launched their own LFL.  What was that experience like?

KC:  I have always been entranced by other cultures and part of me needed and still needs to travel and see the world.  That is probably what sparked my major in college, Anthropology.  I didn't study abroad while in college, so I knew this would be my chance for that kind of experience.  Although we worked 6 days a week, I was able to travel to Melbourne, Sydney, scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, live in Perth as well as the Gold Coast in Surfer's Paradise.  The culture is focused on getting everything you can out of life... working to live, not living to work.  Aussies love their sports so much that the introduction of the LFL was received with open arms.  The rugby/soccer stadiums are beautiful and the attendance was better than it is in the states. 

 

WP:  What song or artist are you currently listening to?

KC:  Such a mix!  I have a ton of Pandora stations, everything from AWOL Nation to Judy Garland.  

 

WP:  What are the LFL fans like from your experiences in both Baltimore and Las Vegas?  Do they differ?

KC:  Baltimore is known for big time sports fans and supporting their teams win or lose.  You definitely felt that in Charm City.  Fans come in full Charm gear, Ravens purple and Orioles orange.  We even had Ravens and Redskins players come to our games each year.  It was amazing to receive that kind of support.  Fans knew your name, your number, your position and your stats.  In Nevada, I think the fans think the sport is cool, unique and action packed, but it's not the same personal connection like it was in Baltimore.

WP:  If you could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?

KC:  GOLD!  I love gold.  Or, Dallas Cowboy Blue and Silver.

Written by Jenn Holt — January 29, 2015

PLAY BALL LIKE A GIRL

On October 9th, 2014, a letter written to Dick's Sporting Goods was posted on Twitter by Chris Peterson, McKenna Peterson's father.  It was a letter written by 12-year-old McKenna who addressed extreme disappointment with the 2014 Basketball Catalog and the fact that female athletes were not represented in the catalog... at all.  

McKenna is an avid basketball player and supporter of her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury. She's a girl, who loves to play ball and enjoys to compete.  She looks up to WNBA female athletes like Maya Moore, Swin Cash, Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi as the examples of the female athlete she aspires to become.  It's these influences as well as the support from her parents that fuel such aspirations to do things on the same level as any male athlete, if not better.  

McKenna's vocalized disappointment of Dick's 2014 Basketball Catalog was supported by many female athletes across all sport preferences as well as the friends and families who support them. Although Dick's Sporting Goods has since apologized for their lack of female presence in their catalog, this imbalance will surely rise again unless we take McKenna's lead and choose not to accept the secondary or non-existent placement of the poorly represented female athlete, but take action and show that Playing Ball Like a Girl... is a good thing.

We Are Warpaint could not be more proud to highlight McKenna Peterson for December's Warrior Spotlight.

 

 

  WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  

PLAY BALL LIKE A GIRL

 

WP:  What is it about basketball that makes it your sport of choice and how long have you been playing?

MP:  Basketball is my sport of choice because it is fun to play and just a great team sport.  I have been playing since I was 5 years old in Regina Saskatchewan Canada with the RCBA.

 

WP:  If you could meet any female basketball player, who would it be and why?

MP:  Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx or Swin Cash of the New York Liberty, because they are great basketball players.  I've also already met my main local role models Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi.

 

 

WP:  Why was it important to write to Dick's Sporting Goods after you realized that females were not represented in their 2014 basketball catalog?

MP:  I think we (females) should be represented as strong, confident, athletes who can play sports and do anything boys can do, maybe even better.

 

 

WP:  What is the one thing most people don't know about you?

MP:  I was originally born in Canada in Edmonton Alberta.  I am not a big fan of soccer.  I played flag football in Canada for 2 years, but I stopped because the boys never threw me the ball.  I am a Cheesehead...Go Green Bay!  I usually wear number 12 like Aaron Rodgers for luck.

 

WP:  Besides playing basketball, what else do you like to do?

MP:  I love riding my longboard which is a Land Yachtz board and I like listening to music.  I like playing hoops in the driveway and playing outside with the kids on the street.  Once we did the invisible rope prank.

 

WP:  What song or artist are you currently listening to?

MP:  I am currently listening to Iggy Azalea (I like Fancy) and One Direction's new album, Four.  I like Fireproof, Steal My Girl and Act My Age.

 

WP:  You stated in your letter to Dick's that you have season tickets to your state team, the Phoenix Mercury.  Do you aspire to play professionally and/or collegiately one day?  If so, is there a specific team/school you'd like to play for?

MP:  I would like to play for ASU's Women's Basketball team for Coach Turner-Thorne or Minot State University (where my parents went to school), and eventually for the Phoenix Mercury.

 

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

MP:  "We started in April with a goal.  And four months later, with a whole city behind us, we're Champions.  And there's no better feeling."  - Diana Taurasi

 

WP:  Your letter to Dicks' struck a cord with a lot of people.  Did you ever think it would gain this much attention?  What has been the most exciting part about the journey so far?

MP:  I didnt' think that my letter would get this much attention.  The most exciting thing on my journey was going to New York and being on the Meredith Vieira Show.

 

WP:  If you could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?

MP:  I would probably mix orange, purple and white into one with three different stripes because the Phoenix Mercury could use it for their Warpaint and then they don't have to use three different colors.

 

On June 26th, 2014 Always posted the #LikeAGirl video on YouTube and without question, McKenna Peterson is part of this movement that is working hard to change the perception of what it means to be #LikeAGirl.

 

THE FAMILY UNIT

Rarely do athletes grow up without the workings of a supportive foundation.  Someone who believes in them even when they don't believe in themselves.  Someone who is daring them to dream big and work hard to achieve their goals.  Misty and Darren FitzGerald are that foundation for their two kids, Cassidy and Colton.  Both kids have excelled in their chosen competitive environments and have still remained focused on how their performances impact others.  More specifically, the team.  

We Are Warpaint could not be more proud to highlight the FitzGerald's impressive family unit for October's Warrior Spotlight.

 

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  THE FAMILY UNIT

 

WP:  How has softball impacted your life?

Cassidy:  Softball has given me the opportunity to travel all over the United States.  It has also allowed me to grow up on the softball field with some of my best friends, and it's my safe haven when I'm mad, sad or just want to get away.  Softball clears my head.

 

WP:  What sport do you enjoy the most and why?

Colton:  I enjoy football the most.  I like having my Dad as a coach and that he's teaching me how to be a great quarterback.

 

WP:  What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Colton:  I was born without a left pectoral muscle.

Cassidy:  I used to raise chickens, ducks, rabbits and turkeys when I was younger.  I would auction them off at the San Fernando Valley Fair ever summer.  I even have a belt buckle for my Grand Champion Turkey that I raised.

 

WP:  What person(s) have impacted your life and why?

Cassidy/Colton:  Both of our parents have impacted our lives the most.  Our Dad is the strongest person we know. He has showed us how to love someone and how to stick by his or her side.  More importantly, he has taught us to never give up or let someone else give up.  Our Mom, who is a Breast Cancer Survivor, has taught us to keep fighting and to never give up.  She's been an example that there is a reason why we go through bad times in our life and emphasizes that there is always a lesson to be learned from it.

 

WP:  Define in your own words Teammate.

Cassidy:  A teammate is someone who gives a 100% all the time and helps others reach their 100% as well.

Colton:  A teammate is someone who works together with the team and doesn't try to be an individual.

 

 

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

Colton:  Practice with a Purpose, Play with Passion.

Cassidy:  Live, Love, and Laugh a lot!

 

WP:  What song or artist are you currently listening to?

Cassidy:  Upside Down by John Jackson

Colton:  Can't Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

 

WP:  How have injuries impacted your career and how did you deal with those injuries both physically and mentally?

Cassidy:  I had a rough fall season last year.  I had sprained both my ankles at different times and I sliced my knee open so bad it needed eight stitches.  I was so anxious to get back on the field and play that I kept re-injuring myself.  I really had to learn how to be patient and the importance of healing before stepping back on the playing field.

 

WP:  If you could give one piece of advice to a younger player, what would it be?

Colton:  My advice would be to never quit and work hard.

Cassidy:  My advice would be to play every game like it's your last, because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

 

 

WP:  If you could design the next Warpaint color what would it be?

Colton:  I would love a 3 in one applicator tip that has maroon, black and yellow.  That way I can just swipe it on my face all at once.

Cassidy:  I would love to have a Teal Warpaint color.

 

Written by Jenn Holt — September 30, 2014

THE TRAVELED ROAD

We Are Warpaint's attraction to Estela Pinon was the fact that the road she's traveled was not an easy one, but a road filled with opportunity if you were willing to put in the work, learn the lessons and choose to never give up.  

An Arizona native, she learned early on that her desire to play softball at the University of Arizona was one that required hard work and dedication.  Estela not only excelled as a pitcher, she dominated.  Estela won 1 NJCAA National Championship at Yavapai College and was named MVP in both 2011 & 2012 as well as conference player of the year in 2012.  This journey alone was simply a stepping stone for the next opportunity to come, which was joining the team at the University of Arizona in 2013.  

All of these experiences have culminated to the most current chapter in her life, which is becoming a professional softball player as well as competing in the World Cup of Softball IX for Mexico.   We Are Warpaint is extremely proud to highlight Estela Pinon for August's Warrior Spotlight and even more thrilled to sponsor Estela as she continues to define her journey down her chosen road.

 

 

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  THE TRAVELED ROAD

 

WP:  How has softball impacted your life?

EP:  Softball has not only taught me the game of softball, but life lessons as well.  It has taught me how to be responsible and respect others.  It has also taught me that when things are not going the way you want them to go to never give up.  I think that if it wasn't for softball I would of never met the amazing people that have the same dedication and motivation in their sport.  I just know that softball has made me grow up.  And, honestly, I don't know what I would be doing with my life if softball was out of the picture.

 

WP:  Your path to U of A included 2 years at Yavapai College.  What was the transition like when joining a Division I team as a transfer?  Pros/Cons?

EP:  I think the pros in me starting off in a junior college was that it prepared me for both softball and school.  I always struggled with school, so starting off with a medium class helped me prepare for the university class work level.  As for softball, I think it prepared me physically and taught me how to be responsible.  The pros in starting in a junior college was that it made me understand that everyone is a good player and that everyone is competing for the same spot. The con was that when I transferred I felt like a freshman all over again, haha...because I was new.  Another con was that the level was a bit harder, but with time I was able to adjust.

 

 

WP:  What is one thing most people don't know about you?

EP:  I write lefty

 

WP:  What person(s) have impacted your softball career and why?

EP:  My parents.  They were always my motivators.  The players and coaches of University of Arizona have really impacted my softball career.  I grew up watching U of A and watching the best of the best motivated me in a way that made me believe I was capable of competing at that level too.

 

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

EP:  Obstacles were put here to help us learn the way to get through them.  It's not knowing the road, but going down it that takes you to your destination.

 

WP:  You finished your collegiate career at University of Arizona.  What was that experience like?  Biggest lesson learned?  Favorite moment?

EP:  My experience at U of A was awesome.  My two years there were spent well.  I felt welcomed since day one.  My biggest lesson learned is that softball doesn't just come first, but school as well.  I needed to learn how to balance school and softball at the same time.  

My favorite moment/memory was anytime I had the opportunity to step foot in the circle of Hillenbrand.

 

WP:  What song or artist are you currently listening to?

WP:  Don Omar & Beyonce albums

 

WP:  You played for the Mexican National Team for this year's World Cup of Softball.  Were you nervous?  Excited?

EP:  Yes, nervous and excited to be given this opportunity.  I've always had a dream to play for Team Mexico and be able to represent.

 

WP:  If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring collegiate softball player, what would it be?

EP:  Never give up, always follow your dreams.

 

WP:  You are currently playing professional softball, what are some of the things that set professional softball apart from collegiate softball?

EP:  Playing professional is very different from playing in college.  In college you play some players in the making.  In the pros, everyone is talented.  A lot of players that you play in the pros have been Olympians or Team USA members.  I think it's cool to be given this opportunity knowing that very few players make it to the professional level, whereas there are more opportunities for collegiate athletes simply because there are more schools.

 

WP:  If you could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?

EP:  Orange and Green

THE NEXT GENERATION

This month's Warrior Spotlight highlights, Maddy Ybarra.  A proud member of the 12U Nor Cal Dirt Dogs, a softball enthusiast and one of Warpaint's first Warriors.  Gary Ybarra, Maddy and the Nor Cal Dirt Dogs embody everything We Are Warpaint looks for when searching for Warriors to highlight.  Their passion, dedication and appetite for softball is not only infectious it's inspiring.

I had the pleasure to connect with both Maddy and her dad, Gary Ybarra, who embodies a vital foundation that is needed to excel at this level of competition.  It wasn't until after I finished my softball career that I realized the magnitude of the sacrifices my parents made to ensure I had the best opportunities possible to succeed at my passion.  The impact of the next softball generation would not be possible without, drive, passion, teammates, coaches, deeply rooted friendships and most importantly, parents.  

Before we dive into all things Maddy, I have to share that Gary surprised Maddy with a trip to Oklahoma City to watch this year's and her first, Women's College World Series.  It's these acts that will continue to be absorbed through out her softball career and will undoubtably help mold and shape the player she'll soon become.  Additionally, I had the opportunity to ask Gary a few questions regarding Maddy's strengths, her softball future and essential advice.  

 

 

WP:  What strength do you admire most about Maddy?

GY:  The strength I admire most about Maddy is her desire to want to become a better player.  If she has a bad day, she wants to come home and do additional work.  If she has a good day, she does the same.

 

WP:  What aspirations do you have for her softball future?

GY:  When it comes to my aspirations for Maddy, I want whatever she wants.  If her dream is to play at ASU, I will do whatever I can to help her make those dreams come true.  

 

WP:  If you could give Maddy one piece of advice, what would it be?

GY:  I have always told Maddy that she should never get too high or too low when playing softball and to always respect the game.

 

 

 

 

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  THE NEXT GENERATION

 

 

WP:  If you could name one thing you love most about softball, what would it be?

MY:  The competition!

 

 

WP:  You play for the Nor Cal Dirt Dogs, what's it like to play on a competitive softball team?

MY:  Being on a competitive team is very fun.  We travel a lot so I get to go places that people my age normally don't get to go to.  I also get to know girls from all over the area and I've met some of my best friends because of travel ball.

 

WP:  What is one thing most people don't know about you?

MY:  One thing most people don't know about me is that I'm 4"10 and have size 8 feet in women.

 

WP:  What person(s) have impacted your softball experiences and why?

MY:  My coaches Adri and my dad have impacted it because of all the effort, time and money they have put into my softball dream.  Coach Adri takes the extra time to work with me on my hitting & my attitude.  While my dad not only works with me at practices and games, but never says no when I want to put in extra work even after a long tournament weekend.

 

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

MY:  My favorite quote is, "I am a member of a team and I rely on the team.  I sweat and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual is the ultimate champion."

 

WP:  What do you like most about your Nor Cal Dirt Dog teammates?

MY:  My favorite thing about my teammates is that no matter what mood we're in, we find time to dance and have fun.  At the same time, everyone works hard to make sure we are the best team out there.

 

WP:  What is your favorite song to listen to?

MY:  My favorite song I listen to is "The Man" by Aloe Blacc.

 

WP:  What's your favorite pitch to hit?  What's your favorite play to make?

MY:  My favorite pitch to hit is a fastball outside because lots of people don't think slappers can hit outside.  

My favorite play to make is a double play whether it's in the outfield throwing home or playing infield.  

 

WP:  Do you have aspirations to play softball in college?  If so, is there a favorite college you'd love to play for?

MY:  I would love to play college ball!  I work really hard on & off the field so that I can learn as much as possible and be the best person I can be.  My hope is that one day all the hard work will pay off and I will play ball for ASU.

 

WP:  You and your teammate, Tyra, have been amazing supporters of We Are Warpaint.  If you guys could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?  

MY:  Without a doubt... Burnt Orange.  Gotta represent the Dirt Dogs.