It has been a whirlwind four and a half weeks back at FSU. Long before the new semester began, our own Jameis Winston won the coveted Heisman Trophy and countless other Seminoles garnered national accolades.
As the first day of classes ended, students flocked to the Leon County Civic Center, local restaurants and any other place they could tune in to watch the Seminole football team compete for its first national championship since 2000. After a back-and-forth battle against Auburn, our Noles went down in history as the last team to win a BCS national championship.
Cheers rang out all through Tallahassee, celebrating the hard-earned victory. The next few days were filled with excitement despite the uncharacteristically frigid temperatures. Enduring the chilly weather, more than a thousand fans came out to greet the new national champions.
With all of the excitement of the national championship still buzzing through the city, we began our own journey to what we believe is a World Series-contending year. Practice, conditioning and weight training kicked into high gear right away, and I quickly saw all of the hard work my teammates had put in over break.
The freshmen came back strong and ready to play, and the rest of the team looked phenomenal and ready to build on our super regional appearance from last year. From home runs to drag bunts, our hitters were on top of it, and our bullpens were filled with enthusiasm. A week and a half of individual and group practices passed without a hitch, but we were all more than ready to practice as a team again and get the mojo flowing.
Our first day of full-team practice was on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and we were told to prepare for a nine-hour day. A few of us were a little scared when we thought about such a long day, but we knew there had to be something pretty special planned. Although the coaches tried to keep the practice plans as much of a secret as they could, the word got out that we would be going to see “Lone Survivor” as a team. So the day was set: We would have a team meeting to get prepared for the season, practice for a couple of hours, eat and then head to the local theater to watch “Lone Survivor.”
I was thrilled. I’m a big reader and had just bought the book a couple of days before. I also have friends of military background, so I hold a lot of respect for the armed forces.
Throughout the movie it was clear we could learn a great deal from SEAL Team 10. They regarded each other as brothers, and they fought for one another until their last breath, giving everything they had. I was amazed at the heroism of each individual and how they played their part in the puzzle, trying to help each other survive.
There is a lot to be said about the way you can structure a team, and everyone has their own opinions on that, but in my eyes a team should always play for one another. You give your 110 percent effort so that your teammates will give you that same amount back, and you trust that each person has prepared to succeed in their moment. We talk about this a ton at practice, and seeing the outstanding amount of trust that each man had for one another in the movie really resonated with me. If we can trust each other as much as each individual of the SEAL team did in battle, we will be going places -- Oklahoma City-type places.
The two weeks of practice since then have been filled with hard work, but there is something else that can be felt when we’re on the field. There is a strong bond. That bond starts with trust in each other, has a lot of little pieces of the puzzle in between and ends with one common goal: heading to Oklahoma City the first week of June.
Our motto this year is 2D4J -- Today for June. We’ve been working for June 2014 (the Women’s College World Series) since the beginning of September 2013, and we will continue to work until we achieve our goal.