What It Means to Wear Purple

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It was a cold May afternoon, winds blowing in from right field.

 

Two outs. Bottom of the sixth. Our final game in a double-dip series against Penn State in 2010. We were tied 5-5 with the bases loaded and junior slugger Michelle Batts up-to-bat.

 

It's a full count, and the next pitch is at Batts' eyes. She swings.

 

I don't even remember how I got there, but suddenly I was at home plate; jumping up and down and yelling at the top of my lungs. In what seemed like slow motion, Michelle Batts had launched that rise ball over the right field bleachers for a 9-5 win over the Nittany Lions.

 

I'll never forget that moment; the pure elation and joy that emanated from home plate that day. It's moments like those that characterize what it means to be a Big Ten student-athlete, to attend a university like Northwestern.

 

As this weekend of the Mobile Tour comes to a close, I find myself piecing together the moments like that to define what the slogan, "Honoring Legends, Building Leaders" means to me...

 

I remember standing in centerfield as our team got the last out against Loyola (Chicago) last April, chills running up and down my arms as I realized I had just been apart of Northwestern softball's 1,000th win.

 

It's rushing the court as a freshman after men's basketball beat Purdue; students pouring onto Ryan field after last year's jaw-dropping football victory over Iowa.

 

I recall screaming at my television as former teammates won the National Professional Fastpitch Championship, the biggest stage possible for women in my sport. It's the university welcoming home our women's lacrosse team with their sixth national championship trophy in seven years.

 

And it's establishing relationships with Wildcat alumni who paved the way for female student-athletes like myself; learning invaluable lessons from these women who set the standard for what it means to be apart of the Northwestern family...

 

 

For the past two years, I've met Northwestern legends; learned from them and been inspired by them. I've learned what it means to be a true leader; on the field, in the classroom and in the community. So when the Big Ten released its new slogan earlier in the year, it was a relief that someone had finally been able to put into words the experience that the student-athletes receive and cultivate in this conference.

 

In our Sports Performance Facility, there's a sign that reads, "Say what you want to be. Then do what you need to do." That statement echoes in my head when I'm under the squat bar or running 150-yarder after 150-yarder, dripping with sweat beside teammates who all share the same goal as me: to win a national championship.

 

That statement is in the back of my mind when I'm thrust into the deepest parts of the city of Chicago to do reporting for a journalism class; experiencing the beauty of a city that is just down the shoreline and having my worldview widened in ways that might be intimidating but will only help me in the long run.

 

I think about that sign as I look over the first half of my time here and how much it epitomizes what being a student-athlete in this conference and at this university is all about; honoring legends and building leaders. It's learning from our past, which has spoken of greatness; and taking the opportunity to now speak it for ourselves.



Thank you all for the opportunity of being your Northwestern blogger for this leg of the Tour. I hope you enjoyed this past Homecoming weekend as much as I did. Don't forget to cast your vote at the end of the season for your favorite student blogger! GO CATS!

 

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