I have covered the Chicago Bandits for the last three seasons. Midway through the 2015 season, something happened which I will never forget.
Until that day, Kirsten Verdun was just one of the Bandits. I totally respected and appreciated all of the Bandits. Kirsten was one of the pitchers. I had interviewed her a couple times and had talked with her around the ballpark.
The fateful day occurred in August. I learned I would be getting to bat against the Bandits in a charity game. As I sat in the dugout, my mind was racing. I didn't even realize who I would be facing.
My name was announced and I grabbed my bat. When I looked at the mound, I saw Kirsten standing there. Four pitches later, I was heading back to the dugout. I hadn't even touched any pitch, but I did manage to coax a ball out of her.
Kirsten was throwing around 60+ mph (which translates to about 90+) I really didn't have a chance, but I had a blast. I have joked about this many times since then, including with my nemesis Kirsten. Actually, Kirsten was as sweet as could be and has been a great sport about reminiscing about my one at bat.
When I saw the Northwestern Wildcats were playing Wisconsin, I immediately was looking forward to seeing Kirsten, who is an assistant coach for the Badgers.
After the first game, I saw Kirsten and we briefly talked and took the picture below. It's always good seeing former Bandits, but I will always have a special place for Kirsten.
She has now retired from the Bandits and is embarking on a career in coaching. I am confident Kirsten will do well in coaching. In addition to her talent, she is very knowledgable and personable. Having been around her at the ballpark, I have seen her work ethic. I have seen her helping other players and also learning from players and coaches.
I really want to publicly thank Kirsten for her contributions to the Bandits, but also for her friendship and consideration. I look forward to watching her career develop and I will always look back on that one at bat and smile.
Kirsten Verdun and me in Evanston, IL-March 2017.