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A Softball Journey

A Softball Journey

Fong Tsz Ching Phoebe's Story
Faculty of Education

Phoebe had her first contact with softball in the touch camp of a residential hall. When she decided to join the hall softball team, it was driven more by her desire for playing team sports than by her innate interests in softball. But hardly did she realize that softball would become a sport to which she dedicated in her university life.

Playing softball is a process of ceaseless learning. Phoebe pays scrupulous attention to the performances of herself in every practice, in order not to repeat the mistakes made before. In her observation of teammates’ practices, too, she never stops learning – learning about others’ excellence for her excellence, and learning about others’ missteps which she is determined to avoid in her turn. Softball practices usually take long hours, but it is her instinctive drive to keep learning that sustains her spirits and performances.

But the process was by no means uninterrupted, and she was confronted by the bottleneck in skills improvement in her freshman year. Sometimes she was frustrated to see that frequent practices brought more muscle pain than actual improvement. In softball competitions, one iota of mistake could turn the team’s fate. There were moments when she regretfully asked if her faults correlated with the defeat.

Photo of Phoebe playing softball
"Clichéd though it may sound, relationships were among the greatest reward of her devotion to softball."

Clichéd though it may sound, relationships were among the greatest reward of her devotion to softball. Training camps of hall softball team, spanning a consecutive three days at the Artificial Pitch 4 (commonly referred to as P4) of Stanley Ho Sports Centre, were gruelling. Phoebe vividly recalled even some teammates fainted in the scorching summer, they would still persist in the fitness practices with their consuming passion for softball. In an interhall competition when she was still a freshman, her team was trailing behind for four marks, but the teammates galvanized one another into the fight for victory and ended up with a dramatic reversal. These trying moments not only made her and her comrades tougher players but also cemented their relationships and became a source of the close bond in this tight-knit softball team.

A key to success in softball, in her perception, is strong nerves. It is difficult to imagine how one with few inner resources could become resolved to win the game at the time when his/her team comes off worse in a fierce competition. Equally important is the constant reflection, not only of every mistake but also of whether the method of practice fits yourself. When she was the team captain of the hall softball team and HKU team, she encouraged her teammates and herself to reflect constantly and critically.

The support of softball provided by the government and  HKU might not be as resourceful as other sports, and its sustenance in the university owes much to the major efforts of the earlier generation of softball players – to whom Phoebe has remained profoundly grateful for their contributions to making softball one of the three “new balls” in HKU residential halls, alongside lacrosse and hockey.

Those who are interested in softball should not hesitate to join a hall softball team or begin their pursuit by participating in softball practices in HKU!

Written by:
Andres Fok
Year 3, Faculty of Arts
March 2020

A Softball Journey