Hayley Graham is a third-year sport media student and one of two Rams fastpitch players named to this season’s Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association (OIWFA) all-star team.
By Hayley Graham
Prior to the phone call, I had no idea that being an all-star was possible; I didn’t even know it was a thing in our fastpitch league. I was just playing the game I love and doing everything I could to help my team win.
It was Thanksgiving Monday and I was working at the gym at school, since I apparently wasn’t smart enough to book it off, when I received a phone call from my coach. My coach usually sends emails and maybe a text here and there, so when I saw his name pop up on my phone, I had absolutely no idea what it could be about. He told me that my teammate Emily Rickson and I had been named league all-stars. A quick phone call, and I was suddenly okay with being at work on Thanksgiving Monday.
The first person I told was my dad. When it comes to sports, he’s usually the first one to know, good or bad, on or off the field. But my dad’s the type of guy who doesn’t exude that much emotion. He’ll congratulate you by all means, but he kind of says it like, “yep, good job, but what are you going to do now?”. He’s always proud, but wants you to keep pushing to that next goal. But this time, he definitely showed some emotion. I remember calling him right after I got off the phone with my coach. He was proud. My dad came out to as many games as he could, and was the one who taught me this game in the first place, so I definitely shared this one with him.
Other than family, I didn’t really tell anyone. Emily didn’t really tell anyone. I think we both realized that it’s great to be recognized, especially in our first year as a team, but it’s not going to change the way we play and approach the game.
Fast forward to the night of the banquet. Emily and I had no idea what to expect, no idea what to wear, no idea what was going to happen. Leading up to the night, I just wasn’t feeling excited about it. I had been back and forth from doctors’ offices trying to figure out what was wrong with my shoulder. I was tired, and of course, I didn’t do much work over reading week, so I was now slammed with homework and readings as well.
But the night was simple. It was fun. I’m really happy I was able to be a part of it and represent Ryerson with Emily. We barely recognized half the players because no one had a uniform or face-cage on. It was funny seeing girls and saying hello to them, not realizing who they were until five minutes later, when someone would say “oh yeah, she’s the pitcher” or “she’s the one who hit the bomb.”
It’s hard to put in words what it all feels like; everything’s happened really quickly. Our season is only about five weeks long and playoffs are a weekend. It’s all over before it really sinks in. But I’m happy about everything that happened this season. On more of a personal note, being named an all-star is just the cherry on top. I can’t wait for next year. For the whole team to be at the banquet, hopefully making playoffs and continuing to make a name for ourselves.