With the Olympics postponed to 2021, I reached out to several of my Olympic softball friends for Olympians' Thoughts, my latest online contribution to Global Traveler. Team USA Monica Abbott, Team Canada Lauren Bay Regula, Team Mexico Sashel Palacios and Team Australia Stacey McManus were kind enough to give me their thoughts. Coincidentally (or not) all aqre former Chicago Bandits.
Stacey played one season for a Bandits a few years ago. The Australian players then became the Aussie Spirit, based in Mankato, MN.
It was cool having the Aussies on the Bandits. They had a huge fan base from around the world and their native land folks were very supportive.
Stacey's mom Cindy came from Australia for several games. It turns out she is originally from New Jersey and was a bit of a softball player, too. Mom Cindy is such a sweet person. She gifted me with a little koala bear during Stacey's season with the Bandits. It was so thoughtful and cool. It now sits on my shelves along with other softball swag.
It was awesome seeing Stacey return with the Spirit after her year with the Bandits. Of course, we all missed Stacey and the other Aussie Bandits playing here, but it was also cool to see the whole Australian team play.
I really was looking forward to seeing my friends in the Olympics, but I'll hold that anticipation through 2021. Hopefully by then, the world will be close to normal.
I really appreciate the friendships I have developed from National Pro Softball. I especially am grateful for these four friends for their time and thoughts. Other players echoed their sentiments and I encourage all to follow players on social media. There are messages of disappointment and frustration, but there is a lot more hope and togetherness. At a time like this, that is the most important thing.
Stacey McManus and me in Rosemont, IL-Summer 2019.