One of the most crucial yet overlooked qualities for any successful team to have is leadership and toughness.A leader is thrust into the role de facto with hard play every day. When the leader is good, hustle and effort spread throughout the rest of the team.
“I think at this point they are feeling out. In leadership scenarios in terms of one of my players you have to have a spark. You have to have a bunch of sparks,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “We are looking for anyone who wants to be that spark and be contagious.”
There are several definitions of a leader; in sports it is to show your team that it always needs to put in the extra effort and be relentless.
“(It takes) hard work and relentless approach to the task at hand,” Eriksen said. “It has to be a relentless approach. It’s not like there’s a wall, and I have to run to the wall. It’s how many times you would run to that wall.”
Eriksen also describes a leader as someone who leads by example and plays every day no matter what.
“A leader is like a guy who used to play for the Mets. A guy by the name of Keith Hernandez: He played every day,” Eriksen said.
“He was a leader in the respect that he played hard every day. The guy played hard. He played injured, and he got back up after he was knocked down.”
The Bulls are suffering from what Eriksen calls “the worst situation that we have ever had here” because no one has stepped forward and displayed the kind of all-out p0performance needed to be victorious at the high level of competition required in Division I softball.
“If you don’t have an individual leader then you need a group of leaders,” Eriksen said. “I don’t think that you can go too far without at least half of your team playing its guts out every single day.”
The Bulls will play their first game since Eriksen put the team on a tryout basis today when they host Stetson (41-7) in a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m.
USF has to start off on a new foot and play to beat the other team.
“We need to get mean,” Eriksen said. “If we get mean and serious and start concerning ourselves with beating people instead of losing, then we will be fine.”
Bryan Fazio covers softball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org