Monday, August 22, 2022

Friend Encounters: Amanda Chidester and Jim Strong

Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.

This harkens back to the days of the National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits. I had so many great times with the Bandits, as did many of my friends, including Jim Strong.
Although Jim is a University of Kentucky fam, he was happy to meet Michigan alum Amanda "Chiddy" Chidester. Of course, everyone loves Chiddy. I especially have a soft spot for Chiddy, because she was the catcher of my infamous ceremonial pitch. She not only caught the "slightly high" pitch, but she called it a strike in a later interview. The catcher knows!
Chidester is finishing another season with Athletes Unlimited. AU just finished their fourth of five weeks, with the season ending Sunday, August 28.
Utilizing a fantasy league points system, AU is different from other softball leagues. It takes a bit to understand the system and possibly to even like the setup, but at the heart, it is softball, played by the most elite players. Any bit of hesitation immediately leaves once I'm at the ballpark, immersed in the softball fun.
I find myself unnecessarily saying "oh she's good" as every player is announced. Of course she's good. They're all the best of the best. It is a real pleasure watching them. It has also been a great thrill to get to know many of them from the NPF and even now through three years of AU.
For more info on AU, go to Also, check my recurring coverage here and on
Amanda Chidester and Jim Strong in Rosemont, IL-July 2019.

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