Michelle Moultrie has been part of the USA Softball national team program since 2011 and has traveled the world playing the sport she loves. Before that she was a star at the University of Florida, where she collected All-America credentials. Yet, despite the success the Jacksonville, Florida, native has earned, Moultrie still sees her career as unsuspecting and unlikely.
“It’s kind of been surprising,” Moultrie said. “When I was a kid I didn’t see myself going this far. I think when you get chosen for things like this, it’s almost a surreal type of thing. I had a much better college career than I thought I would. (Being) given this opportunity was something I never imagined would happen. It’s been awesome.”
Moultrie might be the most recognizable player on the current U.S. softball team. Wherever the team goes, she’s a fan favorite. Her style of play in the outfield and at the plate helps the squad play an entertaining brand of softball.
Moultrie said she sees every day that she can take the field wearing a USA uniform as reason enough to be excited about the game.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity. Just from the very first year, it doesn’t really change,” Moultrie said. “Every year that you make the team, you have that same feeling like, ‘OMG, I get to represent my country.’ It’s a really amazing experience. It’s different each year. We play in different places. There are new people that come on the team. So I think it’s just a really cool, life opportunity. Just really amazing.”
Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy transition for Moultrie. After the success she found with the Gators, she suddenly had to learn to deal with failure when competing against the world's best on an international stage.
“It is a game you really have to learn, especially the failure side of having a bad day or bad at bat,” Moultrie said. “One thing I’ve learned is to try and stay calm through that and just know that each day is going to be different than the next.”
Moultrie said this learning curve has been one of the hardest she's gone through in her softball career, but the benefits have proven to help her in all facets of her life.
“It’s pretty tough,” Moultrie said. “But a lot of things you do on the field can just help you in life. Experiences like you can’t sit too long on things you didn’t do well. Learn from it and kind of move on. Good things will happen next time.”
As one of the longer tenured veterans on Team USA, Moultrie finds herself teaching the younger players in the program how to deal with failure and how to respond to it on world stage.
“A lot of the young girls are great, but it is a hard transition from college to here,” Moultrie said. “The game is a little bit different. That is something we tell each other, encourage each other. It’s a long summer and we’re working towards the end. A lot of times, especially being at a high level, you can go up and down with how you’re performing. But coach (Ken) Erickson, he is so inspirational. And he always reminds us what a great opportunity it is here and how special it is to be on this field.”
From GameChanger and Michael Kinney. Photos courtesy of USA Softball.