By Stephanie Andrade and Derek Atwood

We have just returned from the 22nd Annual Valley Invitational College Exposure Tournament in Hillsboro, Oregon. Players on 210 teams participated in front of 81 college coaches. This was a prime opportunity for players to be seen by coaches who could offer them a college scholarship. Tension was high among players and their parents. A lot was riding on “being seen” by a college coach.

Being a part of this journey for players provides excitement for us as well. We love the game of softball and watching how it shapes young women into being successful in life. But that is not the only reason why this tournament was special or why we love our jobs. Every once and a while we get to clearly help someone in a time of need.

The skills clinic was held Friday, on the Hillsboro Stadium turf field. As the girls registered, the tournament director reminded them that metal spikes were not allowed.

Imagine the panic felt by the girls who packed only their spikes for the tournament. Imagine how they felt as they told their parents. Now imagine the panic on the faces of the parents who realized their daughters might lose the opportunity to be seen at their best by the college coaches.

We turned panic into relief when parents and players came to our booth in search of turf shoes. Worried parents became happy parents. Their daughters marched onto the turf field in their brand new Ringor turf shoes and were immediately able to show their fastpitch skills to college coaches.

Parents want the best for their children. Players work hard to perform their best. College coaches travel great distances all summer to recruit the best for their programs. For us to play a small role in all this coming together for everyone, makes going to work a joy. It is fun to see people succeed in life and to be a small part in that journey.

Thank you to all the people who work so hard and enjoy the game of women’s softball; you make our job so much fun..

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