WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF...
Ashley Carter and softball is something that goes together as seamlessly as peanut butter and jelly. It's a match that's meant to be. In 2013 she became part of the softball alumni at Cal State Fullerton and in addition was awarded 1st team All Big West in 2012. Ashley is also alumni to the elite travel ball team, Cal Lite. It's premature to think that Ashley was done with competitive softball simply because she wrapped up her Division I career. Ashley has proudly achieved a dream that at one time seemed impossible, but now is a fabric of her reality. She's a professional softball player for the PA Rebellion. If that wasn't enough, Ashley is also We Are Warpaint's first sponsored professional athlete and we can't be more excited to not only highlight her in this month's Warrior Spotlight, but proudly watch her journey unfold as a professional athlete.
WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT: WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF...
WP: How has softball impacted your life?
AC: Softball has made me the person I am today. It has shown me the person I aspire to be and taught me life lessons that I use everyday, such as: early is on time, time management, a strong work ethic and most importantly, having passion for what you do. Softball has also shown me the benefits of being part of a team and what it means to be a team player. Knowing that your team has your back and working together towards a common goal is a powerful combination.
Having a team also creates life long friendships and to this day I keep in contact with people from my little league and 10U travel ball teams. I invest in my softball relationships because I know I can count on my teammates to always have my back as I would theirs.
WP: You presently work with slappers as a coach at EM Speed & Power, what is your style of coaching/philosophy?
AC: My coaching style/philosophy is all about building a great foundation. The foundation is key before I move onto technique. Having quality feet and hand work are essential to building a great foundation. A foundation makes everything, from a swing, to a throw, to the dynamics of a team. It's the small things that make the great big things even better. You can't win without the small parts of your game.
WP: What is one thing most people don't know about you?
AC: I have two! That I'm a Disney fanatic and part Japanese!
WP: What is your favorite quote?
AC: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
-- Marianne Williamson
WP: What person(s) have impacted your softball career and why?
AC: There are so many, but mainly I would have to say my parents. They have always believed that I was capable of playing at any level and made me believe the same. This foundation allowed me to never regret any moment or experience in my softball career. They were the ones that drove me everywhere, fed me and took care of my injuries when I didn't want anyone else to know about them. They were at every game, rain or shine and paid for training, lessons, travel ball... you name it. If I didn't have my parents I wouldn't be playing softball.
Others that have impacted my career are the coaches that changed my game drastically to make me the ball player that I am today: Bobby Flores, my coach from Bloomington High School, Coach Pam Newton my travel ball coach for Cal Lite and Michelle Gromacki and Kelly Ford, my college coaches at CSUF. These coaches have sculpted my game and made me a better person and player. Each of these coaches taught me to enjoy the game and love what I did everyday.
Lastly, but not least, are my friends and teammates who have always been there to help me out and pick me up when I needed it. They've been by my side when I've been at my best and more importantly, when I've been at my worst. But, one of the most valuable things my teammates have taught me, is how to dance!
WP: You recently signed with the PA Rebellion, what was that process like and how does it feel to be a professional softball player?
AC: Signing with the PA Rebellion was an interesting process. I had recently tried out for the Akron Racers and didn't make it and I figured I was done playing any competitive ball. Trying to reconcile how to move forward with my life knowing softball would no longer be a part of it in the capacity that I was used to was nearly impossible. One day I noticed a post on Facebook talking about a tryout for the Rebellion Pennsylvania and the coaches number was listed on the flyer. I decided to give him a call to see if any other tryouts were going to be held in California in the near future. Coach Bertagnolli didn't answer his phone, so I left a short, simple message about myself and my softball background. Literally 5 minutes later Coach B called me back and conveyed that he'd heard of me when I played for the California A's in Canada. Essentially, he encouraged me to come to PA and tryout. Money was tight and the idea of expensing a trip to PA was a little overwhelming. When I talked to my folks, they said it was completely my decision and right then and there I knew I never wanted to regret anything, so I decided to find a way to make it work.
When we arrived in PA it was 25 degrees and snowing! A big change from the 80 degree southern California weather. When I arrived at the indoor facility for the tryout I was beyond excited. I was a few hours early, so I probably warmed up 3 different times and did different drills to get myself ready and when the time came for the outfield portion - I was ready. Essentially, my outfield was flawless. I caught everything and my throws were on point! We finished up with hitting and base running and when everything wrapped up the owner of the PA Rebellion, Stu Williams, and Coach Bertagnolli outlined exactly what they were looking for and in the manner in which we'll be contacted to inform us if we made the team or not.
That night, I received a call from Coach B and I was thinking it was too soon for good news, but on the contrary - he stated that they wanted to sign me to the PA Rebellion before I got on the plane tomorrow morning! That next morning I received the contract and signed my first commitment to an NPF softball team. Needless to say, it was a great morning and a great way to leave PA knowing that I'll be coming back in May to play against former Olympians, pros and All Americans!
For me, I still can't believe I'm a pro fastpitch athlete. I'm 1 of 90 women who have the opportunity to play professional softball in the United States. I get to play against and with people I grew up watching and idolizing... it's just so surreal. This was only a dream before and thanks to hard work, preparation and one phone call, my dream became a reality.
WP: What song or artist are you currently listening to?
AC: Happy by Pharrell Williams
WP: You played softball at Cal State Fullerton (Go Titans!) what was that experience like? Biggest lesson learned? Favorite moment(s)?
AC: My experience at Fullerton is very mixed. My first season with the Titans was tough, because we struggled and I hate losing with a passion. I learned that in softball, as in life, you will face adversity and it's what you do abut to change it that matters. These experiences taught me to lead by example and speak up once in awhile. I'm not really a vocal person, but my work ethic becomes my voice.
My senior year, I had the best time of my life! I had the best team; we all got along and it was truly enjoyable playing with these girls because we all shared a common goal and went out to pursue it! Everything changed that year... People remembered who the Titans were again and we were out there with something to prove. I wish I had another year with those girls, because they are the best bunch and they're going to kick butt this season!
The biggest lesson I learned at CSUF was that no matter how bad things may have been or what seemed to be impossible; don't let it drag you down, keep fighting, keep practicing, because things change and be the reason why they change, not the reason why they get worse.
But, most importantly, I've had so many great moments at Fullerton! We beat some of the best and I love being the under dog and upsetting teams. I also enjoy every moment on the field, because you never know when it's going to end for you. So, go out there like it's your last game and give it everything you've got!
WP: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring collegiate softball player, what would it be?
AC: Never give up! If I'm able to make it, so can you!
WP: If you could design the next Warpaint color, what would it be?
AC: It would have to be my favorite color, which is TEAL! With glitter in in of course!