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Senior Reflection: Softball's Jacqueline Paul

Senior Reflection: Softball's Jacqueline Paul

It was my sophomore year and we were getting amped up to play what was always my favorite game of the season - the playoff game against WPI. Tensions were never higher, our cheers were never louder, and neither team ever played harder than in this game. We were about to say TRAITS and our pregame cheer when Ali Reilly, who epitomized leadership and whose words were few, but always impactful, told us she came across a word today that she believed embodied our team. She told us it meant giving all of your efforts because of the pure love you have for your teammates. That word was heartwork, and it came to define my time as a member of Babson softball.

Fast forward two years to COVID-19 when we found out our season was canceled, the freshmen on the team were upset because they were never able to compete and win a NEWMAC Championship with me and my fellow seven seniors. I tried to explain to them that it's okay because when they win one next year, we know we helped them get there. However, I should have said to them that this season was already won.

We were lucky enough to play four games this season and they will forever be some of my favorite games I have ever played in. The energy I felt during Dave's 500th win was eerily reminiscent of the energy that I felt during our 2017 campaign when we won NEWMACS and made it to super regionals. Similar to 2017, we were not the most talented team, but every day when we showed up to practice or the weight room or on the field in Arizona, the love we had for each other was so present. When a team is able to fully achieve the feeling of heartwork, the biggest victory has already been won. A team that is giving their all simply because of how much they love and respect each other is impossible to beat.

In reality, this is neither a reflection on my career nor a reflection on any particular season, but rather this is a love letter to my teammates - words and thoughts that I didn't have the time nor the courage to share.

To Kate, Lexi. Meg, Sam, and Smitty: Thank you for reminding me why I love the game of softball. There was not a day that went by where a smile or laugh from you guys didn't pick me up. Your genuine happiness to begin our season made me extremely proud to be your senior. I hope you understand that you guys made the pain of our season ending worth it because this past season was far from a waste. I hope you understand the true meaning of heartwork and how it will carry this Babson softball tradition on for years to come.

To AB, Cara, Izzy, Logan, and Marlee: Thank you for helping to shape my class into the leaders that we are today, as you guys were our first class as upperclassmen. You guys occasionally gave us a hard time (yes, I am talking about the weekends of Halloween and spring concert), but you guys allowed us to make mistakes, learn from them, and you still loved us. Finally, you all reminded me how much fun college and life can be if I stopped taking everything so seriously.

To Alicia, Dags, Jamie, and Lauren: Thank you for growing with us over the past three (two and a half) years. Since you were the first class younger than us, we tried to love and accept you as our own classmates. We have watched you grow from anxious freshmen into confident women that were able to lead the team when the seniors were all in shambles that last week. You showed us the true meaning of heartwork as you poured all your love into making that last week one of my most memorable at Babson by giving us a senior day, a banquet, and speeches to name a few.

To Annie, Brooke, Charlie, Katie, Kayla, Tori, and Victoria: Thank you for being my best friends. The eight of us have dealt with the good, the bad, and the ugly, but you guys have made my college experience the best four years of my life. It's crazy how fast we went from being just freshmen to eight incredible women about to graduate. The impact that each of you had on my life is immeasurable. Although I am still saddened by the idea that we won't be able to enjoy any more suite parties or Pepsico practices together, I know it's okay because we have a lifetime of memories ahead of us.

To all my teammates that came before: I apologize for not giving you each your own section because it is very well deserved, but thank you for helping me grow into the person and player that I am today. You guys each showed me the true meaning of heartwork before I even knew the word for it. I am excited and proud to join you guys as Babson softball alumni.

And finally, to the coaches: Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this special program. You enabled these incredible bonds and friendships to flourish.

Obviously, no words will ever be enough to express the absolute love I feel for each and every one of my teammates. But maybe one Monday night, we could sit around and talk about the glory days.

"With ten miles behind us and ten thousand more to go" - James Taylor