Tradition for some people may not seem all that important, but for University of Utah’s softball senior Bella Secaira, sliding on tarps is one tradition that must be upheld.
“All of us have done that at least once throughout our career here so we told the freshmen to do it because they hadn’t done it yet,” Secaira said. “Only two of them did it, but there was plenty of water on there. It was like a slip-n-slide, and it was dope. It’s just a fun thing to do.”
Head coach Amy Hogue encourages her girls to slide on the tarps when the opportunity presents itself and said she would even lead the slide if she could.
“They have an opportunity to enjoy their lives at this age and that’s part of it — have as much fun as they can,” Hogue said. “Have fun and get better is my motto for this whole team.”
During the Oregon series, one of the games was cancelled due to inclement weather and the Utes decided to slide on the tarps.
Since the team wears metal cleats and the field becomes muddy due to the rain, the field’s play capability is brought into question. Since softball is an outdoor sport, there is no way around the field conditions and it can also get tough trying to keep a grip on the ball when it’s slippery.
“Sometimes it can feel like a distraction,” Secaira said. “We want to be focused on what’s happening and not worrying about making sure your hands aren’t slippery or making sure you have a grip in the ground.”
No matter how severe the weather may be, Hogue and her team do their best to reschedule the games rather than cancel. Hogue added that the softball field was built to handle a lot of different weather conditions but it’s a matter of the weather stopping so the game can begin.
When the weather won’t let up and it’s clear that the game won’t be played that day, Secaira said it’s easier said than done when trying to reschedule a game or even cancel. If the game is cancelled early enough, sometimes it can be made up with a doubleheader the next day, but it’s tricky to do so when the game is being streamed online via the Pac-12 Network.
When the game isn’t being televised, Utah has more leeway, but it’s not just dependent on the home team.
“When it’s cancelled on the day of, we take into consideration the other team’s flight information and try to make it in, but if we can’t, we don’t get that game at all,” Secaira said.
Since Secaira is a senior, she wants to play no matter what with the little time she has left with her squad. Secaira considers this team her family. She wants to soak it all in while she still can, even if it’s a five-inning game because of the weather.
When a game ends up being cancelled the team has no problem filling up that time with other activities. During the Oregon series, the Utes managed to get in a doubleheader but when they were rained out on the last day, Secaira thought it would be fun to take a dance class.
“I love dancing,” Secaira said. “I went to Millennium Dance Complex and took some really great hip-hop classes. Honestly, I think it is a really good opportunity to do something different. I also did some homework so it was really good to have that down time.”
The team’s goal is to relax as much as possible, so when the game is delayed and not cancelled, the girls fill their time by dancing, playing Wii and playing hacky sack.
The varying personalities on the U’s softball team make it so there’s never a dull moment. Hogue may have to dial the team back at times but she thinks the Utes play better when they are relaxed.
“They love to be together, to dance and they love to play in their new locker room so the more delays the better for them,” Hogue said. “They are a focused bunch. They know what they want to do. I didn’t have to say a word. The delays actually help us.”