Unsolved Mysteries is not a typical television show for a 10 year old, but for one USF softball player this was the beginning of her future.
Watching these shows with her father, she learned about the FBI as a child and discovered this is what she wanted to do with her life.
Last summer, second baseman Ginny Georgantas took a step off one familiar field where she practices her batting and she found herself on another field for the Marines.
Georgantas said she attended Officer Candidate School, a boot camp for students with a college degree, to get a taste of what it’s like to be in the Marines and because it’s one step closer to the FBI. But Georgantas, who has 101 RBI tying her at third place for USF’s career RBI, returned from OCS knowing more about herself and how to bring motivation to her field at home.
“Going into the Marines, I’ve learned a lot about team work and leadership, mostly it was about leadership,” Georgantas said.
“Being so tired there all the time you have to learn to work through it.”
Georgantas said before boot camp she could barely run half a mile, but before she left her distance increased to six miles a day.
“There it doesn’t matter how tired you are, you can’t fall asleep,” Georgantas said. “And you are tired. Sometimes you get three hours sleep a night and you have to wake up and you have to give 110 percent all the time.”
Although the physical activity was tiresome for Georgantas she said it was easier than she expected because other activities such as field training and military classes were included.
“I expected the whole day to be physical fitness where you just wanted to keel over and throw up, but it was not like that at all,” Georgantas said. “And then I come back here and it’s so much easier.”
Georgantas, who will graduate this semester with a criminology major, said the difficult part was returning to the student-athlete schedule which she realized is harder than boot camp.
“It’s hard to balance studies, working out, and giving your all at practice every day and try to have some kind of social life, which most of us don’t,” Georgantas said.
USF softball coach Ken Eriksen said his players are constantly busy from morning to evening, and before they know it they have to wake up and repeat the routine.
Eriksen said their day usually begins at 5:30 a.m. so they can be in the weight room from 6 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. Then the players need to attend classes, which have to be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. because practice runs for about three or four hours after that.
Finally, after practice, they have to go to study hall for a few hours.
“Many people don’t realize the commitment it takes,” Eriksen said. “There is not a lot of time for social activity.”
Georgantas said Eriksen supported her decision to attend boot camp when most coaches wouldn’t because it takes time away from softball. Eriksen and the team’s assistant coaches were going to attend Georgantas’s graduation at boot camp – however, she was kicked out halfway into the 10-week program.
“It’s a long story, but I got into trouble because I was hanging with the wrong crowd,” Georgantas said. “I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really follow rules.”
The experience of failure taught her to be a professional on and off the field.
“I was so devastated because I failed at something,” Georgantas said. “I still have my plane ticket that sent me home, up on my wall because I never want to feel that way again.”
Eriksen said he sees discipline in Georgantas during the team’s practices and games.
“She has a strong will and game plan and has accomplished so much,” Eriksen said.
Now Georgantas said she tries to be a leader off the field as well as on the field.
“On the field I was always a leader but outside the field I was never a leader,” Georgantas said. “Now I try to be more professional and try to do the right thing. If there’s problems on the team or people ask me for advice, I try to help.”
Georgantas said she will go to boot camp again this summer and continue her commitment with the Marines so she can continue her dream to become one of the FBI profilers she used to watch on television.
- Contact Grace Agostin at firstname.lastname@example.org