Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.
Today, I feature two great people I have met through the Chicago Bandits. One is a former player and the other is a diehard fan.
Emily Allard was a star outfielder at Northwestern. She joined the Bandits in 2014, my first full season of covering the team. Unfortunately, Emily suffered a concussion in 2016, which ultimately ended her playing career.
Tough, courageous and intelligent, Emily did not let the setback stop her. Emily and her former Northwestern teammate Kristin Scharkey started Be The Momentum. They offer various forms of instruction on the fine art of slapping. You don't have to be a slugger to be a game-changer.
I was always impressed with Emily on the field, but I am probably more impressed with her now. She is such a fine young woman and she is an even bigger and better role model now than when she played. She was the ideal person for a HeroTV episode. That interview can be found at HeroTV2017 Emily Allard on YouTube.
Chris Bejcek is a role model, too. He is a great example of a perfect fan. He supports the team win or lose. He jokes with the players and other fans. He is one of my best sources for Bandits or National Pro Fastpitch info.
Not a one trick pony though, Chris is a noted music fan. I believe he once posted that he has been to more than 1000 concerts. As large of a number as that is, I totall believe it. Follow him on social media and see all of the musical greats he has seen. It is even more impressive than his NPF roll call.
College softball is in full swing right now and the Bandits season is right around the corner. I can't wait to be back in Rosemont. Of course, I'll see Chris many times during the season. If we are lucky, we might even get an appearance by good old #24.
Check out BeTheMomentumSoftball.com for more info on empowering slappers. Also, go to ChicagoBandits.com for info on the team, including their schedule.
Emily Allard and Chris Bejcek in Rosemont, IL-April 2016.