Michelle Moultrie has been a leader on Team USA for several years. (Photo by USA Softball)
By Michael Kinney
Michelle Moultrie has been part of the USA Softball program since 2011 and has traveled the world playing the sport she loves. Before that she was a star at the University of Florida who collected All-American credentials and College World Series appearances.
Yet, despite the success the Jacksonville, Fla. Native has earned, Moultrie still sees her career as unsuspecting and unlikely.
“It’s kind of been like surprising,” Moultrie said. “When I was a kid, I didn’t see myself going this far. I think when you get chosen for things like this, it’s almost a surreal type of thing. I had a much better college career than I thought I would. Given this opportunity was something I never imagined would happen. It’s been awesome.”
Moultrie may be the most recognizable player on the current Team USA softball team, which just won the World Championships. Wherever the team goes, she is a fan favorite. Her style of play in the outfield and at the plate is one of the factors that helps the squad play an entertaining brand of softball.
But Moultrie says being able to take the field wearing the uniform with USA emblazon across the front is reason enough to be excited about the game.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity. Just from the very first year, it doesn’t really change,” Moultrie said. “Every year that you make the team, you have that same feeling like ‘OMG, I get to represent my country.’ It’s a really amazing experience. It’s different each year. We play in different places. There is new people that come on the team. So I think it’s just a really cool, life opportunity. Just really amazing.”
Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy transition for Moultrie. After the success she found with the Gators, she suddenly had to learn to deal with failure on a national stage.
“It is a game you really have to learn, especially the failure side of having a bad day or bad at bat,” Moultrie said. “One thing I’ve learned is to try and stay calm through that and just know that each day is going to be different than the next.”
As easy as Moultrie makes it sound, she says it’s been one of her most difficult adjustments in softball. But the benefits have proven to help her in all facets of her life.
“It’s pretty tough,” Moultrie said. “But a lot of things you do on the field can just help you in life. Experiences like you can’t sit too long on things you didn’t do well. Learn from it and kind of move on. Good things will happen next time.”
As one of the longer tenured veterans on Team USA, Moultrie finds herself teaching the younger players in the program on how to deal with failure and how to respond to it on world stage.
“A lot of the young girls are great, but it is a hard transition from college to here,” Moultrie said. “The game is a little bit different. That is something we tell each other, encourage each other. It’s a long summer and we’re working towards the end. A lot of times, especially being at a high level, you can go up and down with how you’re performing. But coach (Ken) Erickson, he is so inspirational. And he always reminds us what a great opportunity it is here and how special it is to be on this field.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Writer and can be contacted on Eyeamtruth.com