Ole Miss Baseball: The Heart of a Team
It was January, 2022 and the Rebels were poised to begin a new year of baseball. As a participant in the Ole Miss Baseball Ladies’ Forum, I heard firsthand the plan for this season. And while that plan veered off course at times this season, there was no doubt from the beginning the players exuded an obvious belief in their teammates and coaches.
That belief and faith in one another has been a focal point for the team all year. And look where they are now….in Omaha, playing for the College World Series National Championship.
At the forum, the ladies were given an opportunity to hear the coaches and players speak. COVID protocol kept us from interacting with them as we had in the past, but we still asked questions and had conversations.
As a former participant of the forum, I could tell this season was going to be different. I wouldn’t necessarily say the coaches and players who spoke had a chip on their shoulders. It was more as if they knew there was an unfinished story yet to be written.
Yes, they had something to prove. However, I don’t know that it was really something other than they wanted to be for the seniors and coaches what they needed them to be.
That would become the story and heart of Rebel baseball for this season.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) June 25, 2022
Flash ahead a few months and you see the Rebels fall from No. 1 in the polls to….“How far to the bottom can we fall?” The plan needed a redraft for sure. Here’s the thing. Have you ever lost your way? It can feel like you’re falling down this deep hole with nothing to grab onto. If you have never experienced that, good for you. I hope you never do. But, the Rebels did.
Guess what, though? Even when the naysayers gave up, these Rebels grabbed on to their teammates and coaches and found their way back with a new plan and renewed purpose.
Sometimes as fans we can forget the personal side of sports. Competition is healthy, but we can occasionally forget the athletes are real people who don’t like losing any more than we do. A sport is a game and the outcome is based on the performance of the day. Just like everyday life, outside factors can weigh in.
This team has experienced a lot of outside factors this year, really over multiple years. They have prevailed in spite of them.
What the championship series holds, no one knows. But we do know our Rebels take the field with a plan — and each other. They will travel the course of a series that will see them lean on each other and their coaches.
They will seek to write the ending to the story of Ole Miss Baseball, 2022. However that ending unfolds, it will be written with the mentality of ‘we gave it our all for our fans and coaches, but, more importantly, for our teammates.’
What more can a real Rebel fan truly ask for?
First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. today, June 25, and the game will be televised on ESPN.
(Feature image credit: Donna Sprabery, The Rebel Walk)
Donna Sprabery is a former teacher, graduation coach, and academic coach for boys basketball. She graduated from the University of West Alabama with a major in business education and from Arkansas State University with a MA in Educational Leadership. A native of Meridian, MS, Donna enjoys traveling, gardening, writing, volunteer work, and cheering on the Rebels.