Everyone knows Champions have targets on their backs. The title Defending Champion comes with many expectations. No Team will take a champion lightly therefore every game will be a fight. The National Professional Fastpitch League includes the best players in the world all in the same League, as a result, the NPF players must work hard every single day. USSSA Pride’s Andrea Duran is an advocate for hard work.
She made her debut in the NPF during the 2010 summer season. Duran was a solid defender with a .937 fielding percentage and committing 6 errors. She played in 34 of 57 games, with a .216 batting average with 2 homeruns and 9 RBI.
Duran made her first appearance with the USA national team in 2006 when .333 with one double and two homeruns, leading the team to a World Cup Championship, a title she received again in 2007. In 2008, Duran made the trip to Beijing, China as a member of the 2008 USA Olympic team and helped her team to the silver medal.
Andrea Duran speaks of her expectations for her defending champion team, The USSSA Pride for the 2011 Summer Season…
Q: What are you most looking forward to this summer with the Pride? Duran: I am most looking forward to playing a whole season with my team. Last year I was back and forth between the National team and the Pride so it made it hard to settle into a routine. I am also really looking forward to seeing all of my teammates. We keep in touch through social networks during the off season, but it is not the same as spending the whole summer together creating memories. I cannot wait to see what this season holds for the Pride!
Q: What Team or Player are you looking forward to compete against this summer? Duran: The Best thing about the NPF is that every single game you play is a challenge and being challenged is what I like most about softball. The NPF is super competitive and every game is intense it reminds me of playing PAC10 college softball because the games are always exciting you never know who will win! The first game of season against the bandits should be a good one though. I cannot wait to get out on the field so if I had to pick I would pick the opening series. It is a rematch of the 2010 championship.
Q: Describe the Fans in the NPF. Duran: The fans of the NPF are true softball fans they come out and watch us for the same reason that we play, for the love of the game. They are dedicated and loyal. The NPF back to school tour was a success this fall because of all the great fans that came out and watched the games. Hopefully the tour has helped grow our fan base. I saw a Bandit’s shirt at Disneyland and I had to take a picture with the girl who was wearing it. They are great, very supportive, and fun to play in front of.
Q: The Pride take on the Bandits during the first week of the Season with one game being televised onESPN2 on June 11th....what are you most looking forward to for this series? Duran: I think I am most looking forward to finally getting out on the field with my team. It is has been so long since we played and I think it will just be a high energy high intensity game. The best players in the world will be competing for the first time since the championship series. It should be a really fun game and hopefully a fun show to watch! The fact that the game on June 11th is being televised on ESPN2 is not only huge for the NPF but also for our sport hopefully we will convey to the country what the NPF is all about!
Q: If you had to describe yourself using three words, what would they be? Duran: Loyal, goofy, dedicated (competitive). I had to ask my mom and sister and crazy enough they came up with the same words; they are the ones that know me best so I thought I would use what they said.
Q: The Championship Series is again heading to Sulphur, LA. What are you most looking forward to
heading back to the Bayou? Duran: I am most looking forward to defending the title that we won last year. People say that the hardest thing to do in sports is go back to back because you always have a target on your back after you win, hopefully we will prove that statement wrong. Sulphur was also a great place to play with awesome fans so getting back to that atmosphere is something to look forward to.
Q: What is one item that you really should throw away, but probably never will? Duran: I don’t have a particular item that I hang onto, but I have this habit of saving bday cards that people give to me or other little keepsakes. I like to go back and look at what people wrote to me. I just cant make myself throw away that stuff.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your Crossfit Challenge. Duran: The Crossfit Los Angeles Whole Life Challenge is an 8 week nutrition, workout, mobility, and accountability challenge designed to create habits that last a lifetime. I started on March 26 and will end on May 21st. I did this challenge not to lose weight or anything but to do exactly what it says to create good healthy habits that will last a life time. The nutrition restrictions are as follows: I cannot consume grains/starches (corn, soy products, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fries, etc.), sugar (refined, artificial, or “natural”), dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk), alcohol, soda, juice, diet or processed food or drinks. I basically eat, meat/seafood, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. We also have to take fish oil every day, workout for at least 10min to create a habit, and stretch for 10min a day. Each day we start with 6 points 3 for nutrition and 1for stretching, 1 for fish oil, and 1 for workouts. If you do not follow the eating guidelines or do not do the other 3 requirements you lose points. We log our points from the previous day every day. At first I wanted no part of this challenge, but about 4 days before it was to start I decided to do it. It was not as hard as I thought it would be and it is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. It has helped me find time to cook, workout and stretch, Time I thought I didn’t have before. The new way of eating has also helped my workouts and has given me more energy throughout the day! For more info on crossfit or the challenge click on the following links http://cflawholelifechallenge.wordpress.com/page/5/www.crossfitla.com
Q: Who has been your mentor? Duran: I have had many mentors throughout my life and career. At a young age I really looked up to and admired my sister because she not only played sports she was smart. Being the competitive person that I am I wanted to do well in school just like she did I wanted to be just like her. One of early mentors was my very first travel ball coach Phil Vargas, then Gary Hanning my 18 gold travel ball coach, and later Sue Enquist, Gina Vecchione, Kelly Inouye Perez my UCLA coaches. I also learned a lot from the women and players that came before me. Natasha Watley, Tairia flowers, Lisa Fernandez, Laura Berg. I love to learn new things and improve myself so I took info from anyone that would supply it.
Q: If they made a movie of your life, what would it be about and which actress would you want to play
you and why? Duran: Well the movie about my life will definitely have to have some softball in it. It would probably briefly show my life as a softball player. But the majority of the movie would be how I along with other softball trail blazers help to create a softball empire a league equivalent to MLB. And with the money I earned from that I travel the world visiting all the Disneylands and Disney Worlds around the world. Lol I would probably want Jessica Biel to play me because she has similar cheek bones as me. Lol
Find out more on the Player's Spotlight presenting sponsor, Boombah at www.boombah.com