If you know Michelle Batts, you know that she's one of the most outgoing, charismatic people you'll ever meet. She's the life of the party and thrives in social situations; and on the field, her bat talks just as loudly as her personality.
If you know me, you know that I'm much more reserved; a quieter person who prefers to laugh on the side rather than stand in the center of attention.
Needless to say, Michelle Batts and I didn't quite hit it off the first day I stepped on campus as a freshman two-and-a-half years ago.
But as fate would have it, she and I would be randomly placed together on the rooming list for our weeklong spring break trip to Missouri in 2010, placing two of the most distinctly different people on the team within close, close quarters. It was those seven days of pre-game pep talks, late-night conversations and moments of absolute hilarity that kick-started one of the friendships that means the most to me to this day.
Over the next two years, I had the opportunity to get to know the Batts behind the bat, the person behind the ensuing hilarity that seems to follow Michelle wherever she goes. One of the most compassionate people I know, Michelle taught me what it meant to lead a team with humility and integrity; how to play the game with confidence and passion.
I'll never forget her game-winning grand slam against Penn State in 2010. Or road tripping to Indiana to see our favorite comedian. So many memories; such a large part of my Northwestern softball experience.
Now Michelle is a coach at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, many miles away with a new life and a new team. And though her life has moved on beyond this experience that we shared together for two years, she'll continue to remain a part of this program for the rest of her life.
This Saturday, we'll be playing Michelle and the Tar Heels at the Mardi Gras Invitational in Lafayette, La. Even though I still can't quite wrap my head around being on the field in purple with Michelle in powder blue. Because I'll find myself in centerfield knowing that I stand there -- the player I am today -- in part due to the encouragement and friendship of a coach in the opposite dugout.
So to my former teammate, role model and best friend, I really have only one thing left to say:
Michelle, I'll see you on the field.