The goal this year is simple. Alabama softball’s 20 players, five coaches, four managers, countless support staff and even some lucky fans have a constant reminder of the goal when we look down at our wrists. We all wear customized black Jac Vanek bands that read in bold white print: Finish It.
This program has come too close to winning it all, too many times. We are hungry to hoist the national championship trophy in the pitcher’s circle at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. We are not naïve, though. We understand that there are 63 other teams with the same dream.
This weekend marks the first of three weeks of playoffs. That’s it. Three weeks left of this season. We have prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally all year for these final games. Without school to consume our mornings, we are putting in the extra time to fine-tune our swings and work on the little things on defense and pitching.
Practices are tougher because our coaches know it will be tough playing in front of thousands of people at the Rhoads House this weekend. There is no place we would rather play than in front of our dedicated home crowd. More than 3,500 strong, our crowd pulsates energy that fuels our success. They want a national championship as much as we do.
The long-term goal is to finish it, to win it all, but in order to fulfill this we have to take one game at a time. We will not overlook any team we play. Once the brackets are set, it’s anybody’s game, but we will fight like every game could be our last.
We play for our six seniors, who have worked harder and set a better example than any other senior class in the country. We play for our coaches, who have sacrificed day in and day out for our success. We play for the city of Tuscaloosa and those we lost in the tornado last April. We play for the SEC, which has never claimed a national title. And finally, we will play for each other.