Facing two college softball showcases in front of college recruiters and flying for the first time can be very nerve-rackingâ€¦
Thank God for friends.
Courtney Feldon, a junior second baseman, made her first flight to Plantation, Florida yesterday to participate in the Rising Stars Recruiting Camp today.
â€œIâ€™m just really nervous. (Flying is) definitely a different experience that a lot of people donâ€™t get to enjoy,â€ Feldon said, via cell phone just before boarding her plane at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The pressure she felt thinking about her first flight will likely pale in comparison to the intense scrutiny sheâ€™ll undergo this weekend in Florida and Ohio.
Good thing her best friend, and Carolina Crushers 18-and-under teammate Erin Kegley, will be right there beside her through it all.
â€œIt definitely helps going through the ups and downs. Having somebody you can talk to, work out with and just being there for you,â€ Feldon said of her friendship with Kegley.
Kegley, who batted .396 with a .538 slugging percentage, agrees it makes dealing with the pressure easier.
â€œI love it. Weâ€™re so close. The past three years weâ€™ve gotten so close. Itâ€™s awesome to have your best friend right beside you going through the same emotions,â€ she said.
Feldon, who was named all-state last season with a .438 batting average, was especially anxious when thinking of the 300 colleges that would be represented at the Rising Stars Recruiting Camp.
â€œIâ€™m very excited about it, but at the same time really nervous. Just the amount of pressure can be overwhelming at times with all those college coaches watching you,â€ Feldon said.
Ever since tee-ball at age 5, Feldon has had a bat in her hand. To hear her tell it, â€œI started as early as you could possibly start.â€
Her hard work and love of the game have already paid off through her first two years of softball.
Now sheâ€™s hoping she can parlay her dynamic skills into scholarship offers.
â€œItâ€™s pretty incredible (being selected for the showcases). It lets me know that everything Iâ€™ve worked for â€“ Iâ€™m beginning to see Iâ€™m achieving my dream. Itâ€™s starting to add up, all those extra workouts and putting in the extra effort has paid off finally,â€ Feldon said.
Fridayâ€™s showcase was originally scheduled at the same time Hurricane Katrina hit, but was postponed indefinitely.
And fate, with a cruel sense of humor, moved it to the same weekend Feldon was scheduled to play in the invitation-only Ringor Showcase Tournament at Kent State University to be held this Saturday and Sunday.
Kitty, Courtneyâ€™s mom, and Kegleyâ€™s parents, Butch and Mary, will drive 500-plus miles to Ohio on Friday to support their daughters and to give them a ride home.
â€œWeâ€™re tickled to death. The fact that both of these kids, of all the girls in North Carolina, for these two to get selected to get to go and showcase their talent thatâ€™s pretty awesome,â€ Scott Feldon said.
Out of an estimated 1,250 applicants for the Ringor Showcase at Kent State, Feldon and Kegley were selected to participate in the 16-team showcase tournament, which will host girls from Canada, the United States and Europe.
â€œGoing somewhere where this is your dream and what you always wanted to do, itâ€™s really exciting, but all that pressure makes you really nervous,â€ Kegley, a ME-CA 8 All-Conference selection, said.
While a whirlwind three days and two plane flights arenâ€™t something Feldon would like to do all the time, she took a moment to reflect on who helped her get to where she is now.
â€œWithout the love and support of my parents and Chuck Melton I never couldâ€™ve gotten to where I am,â€ she said.
Melton has coached Feldon for five years as a member of the Coulwood Craze travel team.
And where will they continue their career? Who knows, but one thing is certain â€“ They want to be together.
â€œWeâ€™re hoping to go to the same school and be roommates,â€ Feldon said.
by John Mark Brooks