It is a known fact that without a dedicated fan base, no organization will thrive. Although the National Professional Fastpitch softball league is relatively small as far as the amount of teams, there is no doubt about fan support. The NPF fans are some of the most loyal fans in the United States and that is important to all of the NPF players. USSSA Pride’s Samantha Findlay has reaped the benefit from such great fan support.
A University of Michigan graduate, Findlay left her mark on the softball program as an NCAA Champion and All-American, as well as helping the Wolverines to two Big Ten regular-season championships, two Big Ten Tournament titles and four NCAA Tournaments. A four-time all Big Ten honoree, Findlay is Michigan's record holder for home runs (62), RBI (219) and walks (157). In 2005, Findlay was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year along with being the University of Michigan's Freshman of the Year.
In 2008 Findlay was drafted by the Chicago Bandits, where she spent three seasons and won an NPF Championship in 2008. For two consecutive seasons (2009 and 2010), she was named to the All-NPF Team. She was recently picked up by the USSSA Pride in the off-season as a free agent. Findlay answered some questions regarding her NPF experiences thus far.
Q: You were picked up by the Pride as a free agent, what are you most looking forward to in being a part of the Pride family? Findlay: I am looking forward to the team dynamic. From the front office, coaching staff, and a roster loaded with talent, everyone is on the same page in terms of being driven to win. This program is built around the “team first” concept. Being a part of a championship-caliber program from top to bottom is really exciting.
Q: Describe the NPF Fans. Findlay: Passionate, wild, crazy and dedicated! The fans in this League are committed to their respective team and individual players. It is surreal to see fans in various player jerseys and team attire.
Q: You have been a lethal hitter in the League, what have you been doing this off-season to maintain your power at the plate? Findlay: I have remained dedicated to training. In this league, when you face world class pitching day-in and day-out, you cannot take the off-season for granted. I use the opportunity to refine my mechanics and prepare for the journey that lies ahead.
Q: What does it mean to be an NPF Player? Findlay: To me, it is a dream come true. The opportunity to compete beyond the collegiate level is awesome. The women in this League are building the foundation for the future. To be a part of something that gives young women across the country an opportunity to continue playing a sport professionally is phenomenal!
Q: If someone picked up your Ipod, what would be the first three songs played? Findlay: Nicki Minaj “Moment 4 Life”… Nicki Minaj “Moment 4 Life”… Nicki Minaj “Moment 4 Life”
Q: You are the Director of Operations for the DePaul Softball Team....describe to us a day in the life at DePaul? Findlay: Well, there is a lot administrative work. I come in early to follow up on my emails, set travel arrangements, and ensure that the girls have everything they need. The most rewarding part of a day in the life of the Director of Softball Operations at DePaul is seeing how well the team is progressing. The second most rewarding part of my day is “girl talk” with pitching coach Nancy Evans.
Q: Do you have any superstitions? If so, what are they? Findlay: Yes! Before each at-bat I write something in the dirt, rub my hands with dirt and smile!
Q: Describe what it meant for you to be reunited and play with your sister, Angela last summer in Chicago. Findlay: Angela and I have had the opportunity to play together in travel ball, high school, college and professionally. Always having my sister by my side has been a wonderful experience. Angela is an ultimate competitor and an outstanding teammate. Sometimes I think she knows me better than I know myself. I was grateful that she was with me in Chicago.
Q: Who has been your mentor? Findlay: My father, Joe Findlay. He has a unique way of motivating me to be the best that I can be in this game and in life. He has never allowed me to settle and has always made sacrifices to be there for me. A father’s love for his daughter, especially mine, cannot be described and goes unmatched. The most valuable life lessons he has taught me are to stay humble and hard-working.
Q: What do you want to be most remembered for as an NPF Player? Findlay: I would like to be remembered as someone who is dedicated to the success of this League and as a great teammate. If I can leave behind a legacy that incorporates both of these, I would consider my career a success.