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Throughout the season, members of the Virginia softball team will blog about being on the road and recent games, activities and news in and around the softball world. Fourth-year Lindsey Preuss, who leads the teams with four home runs this season, is up next, recalling the team’s recent visit to Knoxville, Tenn.

Thursday afternoon, after a last minute weights session with Ed, we boarded the travel bus, and left for Knoxville. No sooner than we left the parking lot, the team wanted to put in a movie. You know how when you’re 7 or 8 and you always want to be entertained or know “when are we going to get there?” That’s the dynamic on the bus, especially when trips get over five hours.

We popped in “Almost Famous” and everyone settled in to watch the movie, study, sleep or chat with teammates. Lucky for those who wanted to study, the bus was equipped with surround sound. The sound was loudest in the front of the bus and then became progressively softer towards the back. So, the girls in the back were asking for the volume to be turned up, but the girls up front were dealing with the sides of the bus shaking from the speakers.

We stopped in Blacksburg at Ruby Tuesday. Anytime we stop at a restaurant, the meal becomes an hours-long event. We were in Ruby Tuesday for over two hours and accidentally ran up the bill ordering strawberry lemonades. Usually, the team only wants water anyways, but for whatever reason, all of us wanted a strawberry lemonade. And now we have a rule about when we can order specialty drinks. Bummer.

We got to our hotel in downtown Knoxville, had a quick team meeting and then headed for bed. Our first game on Saturday wasn’t until mid afternoon, so Saturday morning, we had a late breakfast. At breakfast, we learned an important lesson: wearing socks to breakfast does not fulfill our team rule of looking “put together” at the hotel.

My roommate Lauren and I decided that we’d set goals for ourselves all weekend. One of the coaches had recommended a book to me, The Speed of Trust. The book suggested setting personal and team goals, stressing the importance of holding yourself accountable. So Lauren and I said we weren’t coming back into our hotel room until we got a win. We won our first game of the day on Friday, thank goodness. I say thank goodness, because the coaches didn’t know about our goals. When we came back to the hotel that night Lauren and my room was set as the “pizza/meeting room.” I’m not sure what Coach Schmidt would have said if I told her we might have to change the meeting location. Lauren and I probably would have had to listen from out in the hall.

On Saturday, Lauren and I set the goal of having two wins and six successful at-bats between us, or no dessert that night. This was a huge sacrifice, because first-year Cynthia Javaras’s (affectionately known as Javy) parents were taking the team to Ruth’s Chris. Ruth’s Chris is considered one of the finest steak restaurants in the United States. The team dressed up, and looked phenomenal, I might add. The Javaras’ rented a private room for us and entertained the team with a DVD of pictures from the season. The whole experience was amazing. The food was spectacular, and we had a great time together. We told stories about when we were little and laughed about experiences we’d had since being at UVa.

The downside for Lauren and I was that the team went 1-1 on the day. Since we didn’t achieve our goal we had no dessert! While I probably could have been swayed, Lauren was a stalwart. So, while our teammates had Chocolate Sin Cake and New York Cheesecake, Lauren and I just stared and salivated about what we were missing.

Sunday, we only had one game, a rematch against Tennessee at noon. We loaded up the bus, played the game, showered at the field and then headed home. The bus ride home was much more subdued than the bus ride to the tournament. Our bodies were tired, the grim reality that we have classes and midterms coming up set in and everyone just wanted to get home. We got back into town around 11, with news that we have Monday off, with practice and weights on Tuesday afternoon.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover to get where we need to be by ACC play, but I’m confident that we’ve got the work ethic and the coaching staff to get us ready. The experiences that we have on the road as members of UVa’s softball team: laughing, plotting pranks against one another, hanging out watching TV and moaning about study hall make all of our hard work worthwhile.

-Lindsey Preuss

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