Alexis Egan was a standout for two seasons on the diamond at Iowa Central.
Egan, who earned All-American status with the Tritons and stole 145 bases, continued her career at the NCAA Div. I level when she joined the University of South Dakota.
Success always came for Egan in the sport she loved. A four-time all-state honoree in high school, the Sterling, Colorado native broke records as a prep and shined in several other sports while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.
But as Egan explained in a recent blog post, none of it was ever easy.
This is Egan's farewell message to the sport she loved in her own words:
It started in my grandparents' backyard. Countless hours spent having my family members reluctantly say yes every time I asked to play "bat and ball". I was only 4 years old when I could sign up for a recreational team and my parents were all for it. They enjoyed being crazy softball parents even when I couldn't hit a ball off of a tee and would run the wrong way.
Almost 18 years of my life were consumed of softball and I wouldn't have traded a single day. When I was younger, it was all I wanted to do 24/7. Every single summer was filled with ball fields, dill pickle sunflower seeds, and my best friends. The first time my heart was broke wasn't from a boy, but from the most precious thing I had in my life; softball.
Losing a state championship after all of your hard work, pain, sweat, and tears was one of the most excruciating pains I have ever felt: but high school softball was only just the beginning. I wasn't sure how to feel once I took my Sterling Tiger jersey off for the last time. Knowing I would never step foot on the same field with the girls who battled by my side through thick and thin for the past 10 years was too much to even comprehend.
Then all of a sudden, I was making a decision to travel 580 miles away from my tiny nowhere town that I had never left for more than a week to go live, breathe, and eat softball for the next two years of my life. Arriving to Fort Dodge I was instantly homesick.
I wanted to go home, bad. I thought I made the worst choice of my life: I couldn't do this, what was I thinking?
Now looking back, I wish I would've cherished every single moment just a little bit more. Sure, after my time was up at Iowa Central I left my mark with a couple of records and awards, but what I left with was so much more valuable.
I found my best friends, my future bridesmaids, the most precious people I have in my life who will have forever engraved themselves in my heart. We worked our as*** off, and of course we had fun while doing it, sometimes a little too much fun.. sorry Sandquist. ;)
But those are the memories that I hold the closest to my heart. If I could do mass outfield one more time, I would, and all my ICC girls can back me up with how much it sucked, haha. There's so much more I could say about my tiny JuCo, but all I can sum it up with is by saying going there was the best decision I've ever made in my life.
2 years goes by fast though and before I knew it, I was a Division 1 athlete. A dream that I had since I was a tiny, bright-eyed 6-year-old. I knew it wasn't going to be a walk in a park, it was going to be my full-time job at a level I have never played at before.
But it also meant moving to a new foreign town where I once again knew no one and to be honest, I was absolutely terrified. Throughout my year there, for the first time in my life I felt defeated. I felt lost. Like I didn't belong, like I wasn't good enough. I was more vulnerable than I have ever been in my life. I lost my work ethic, my passion, my drive.
I wasn't myself. I wasn't Alexis.
I secluded myself and I spent more nights crying than I did as a kid. I hate crying, I hate having people see me cry, yet I couldn't help it. Still I told no one how badly I was drowning. I wanted to push on and keep going, but my mind and my body were disconnected.
At the end of my junior year, I made the most difficult decision I will most likely ever make in my life. I hung up my cleats for the last and final time and said goodbye to my first love. I felt like the biggest disappointment to everyone in my life who had supported me, especially my parents. What was I going to do with my life now? I haven't not been an athlete since I was 4.
Yet, I felt proud of myself for opening a new chapter in my life. To this day, I miss softball more than anything. I miss waking up early for weights, going to practice, that game day feel. I miss feeling the rush of adrenaline every time I stole a base.
But I'm happy and more than anything I'm thankful. Thankful for my mom and dad, my two biggest supporters. The thousands of dollars spent on traveling, club teams, gear, hotels, and food. The holidays and summers spent at the ball field, in the freezing cold or in the blistering heat, they were there.
There's nothing I can do or say to show them how appreciative I am for giving me the opportunity to play the game I love and every sacrifice they had to make. I'm grateful for every single coach who saw potential in me and gave me a chance and pushed me to be the best possible athlete that I could be.
I'm especially thankful for Coach Sandquist and every thing that man has done for me and for every single one of his players. He was my family when I was hundreds of miles away from my own and gave me opportunities that I thought I could have only dreamt of.
I'm thankful for my girls. For 18 years I got to meet girls from all over the country through different camps and teams and throughout those years I got to meet my absolute best friends. I could write an entire book about each one of them. I can't even begin to explain the amount of love I have for every single one of those crazies, and how much I appreciate their presence in my life.
Before I get too sappy, I just wanted to get this off my chest. It's been 4 months since I've had to be a student instead of a student-athlete, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't miss it, but I'm so happy with where I'm at and proud with how far my mental state has come in a year. Everything happens for a reason and I know God will continue to lead me in the right direction.
So thank you softball, for everything, and to my 6-year-old self, I hope I made you proud.