Denis Perez / The Advocate
Generally, the start of something new brings with it unique challenges.
The adjustment time to accommodate a changing situation offers the opportunity to grow and adjust to better fit new circumstances. This is the case with the Contra Costa College softball team.
After years of not having a team, the college fielded a squad this year and has played five games up to this point.
However, how does a team primarily comprised of players new to the sport affect the surrounding environment?
Coach Taylor Harris said she adjusted and changed her coaching style because of some of the players’ inexperience.
Harris said her coaching has toned down a little because she went from coaching players who had 10 or more years of playing, to players who have played less than half of that time or were utterly new to the sport.
Harris said it wouldn’t be fair if she yelled at one of her players because they truly may not know what to do.
She also said her aggressiveness has toned down as well. “I have to put myself in their shoes,” the coach said.
Overall, Harris is happy with the growth of her team and says her players are beginning to love the game. She is pleased to see their excitement after they make a play and when they do something productive.
The first year Comet coach said her players are excited about accomplishing some of their set goals and applauds the atmosphere they have created surrounding the team on campus because they finally have a legitimate team again.
The willingness to understand that mistakes will be made, along with patience and setting realistic goals are instrumental in the growth and development of a team and players, Harris said.
Athletic Director John Wade said he is happy with the growth the team has made over the season and said the group seems willing to practice and participate.
Wade believes the team has worked hard to improve every day and said he has seen that progress first hand.
“I see steady improvement,” Wade said.
He used a moment from the Comets’ first home series, when Larissa Carvalho came on to pitch for the Comets, to highlight the improvements.
“She (Carvalho) did a great job considering she had never pitched before. She (Carvalho) had good poise because she knew there were plays that weren’t made and stayed with it,” Wade said.
The team had momentum after the first couple of series into the season, but the rain and spring break slowed the team’s momentum, Wade said.
Wade sees this season as a stepping stone for the future of CCC softball.
“Moving forward we’ll have a team that’s able to compete,” Wade said.
For catcher Ariana Rhodes, this is her last year playing softball and might be the last time she ever plays the sport.
“I’m excited that we have a season this year,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes understands that most players are new to the sport and is happy that her teammates are learning quickly. The catcher is also enthused that they are having fun out on the field.
Everyone is playing hard and having fun, Rhodes said.
Most of the team has small goals in mind this year, but Rhodes doesn’t have a specific goal she wants to reach.
“I don’t have a specific goal, but to have fun, so I’m doing that. But since this is my last season playing, I’m reaching the goal of enjoying it,” Rhodes said.