The Olympics started Wednesday. Of course, my main attention is on Team USA and softball, but I also have some love for the other softball teams, like Team Australia.
A few years back, Team Australia sent eight players to the National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits Stacey McManus was one of the Aussie Eight, as they were so creatively called. Stacey is a middle infielder for Team Australia.
It was a great experience getting to know the Australian players and their families and fans, too. Through the NPF, I got to hang around the elite players from the USA, but I never thought I would also be able to get to know great international players, too.
It was a great experience having the Aussie Eight play for the Bandits. It was like worlds colliding in the best way. Their fans became fans of the Bandits. We made a lot of new friends down under. Stacey's mom even gifted me a cute koala stuffed animal, which now sits on my shelf with my other NPF stuff. It was such a lovely gesture on her part. I appreciate it greatly and always smile when I see it.
Of course, I will be rooting for Team USA in the Olympics, but I am excited to see my friends from other teams and I wish them a lot of success. They are all elite athletes and great people. From sopcial media posts, it looks like they are all soaking in every moment, as well they should. I am so happy for them and for softball fans everywhere.
My interview with Stacey can be found at On the Beat With Stacey McManus. You can find more Australian players and other Olympians on my Chicago Bandits playlist on YouTube.