Dear Younger Hallie, Here's What I'd Like You To Know

By Hallie Wilson


Over the last six years I have moved eight times, lived in three different states, and changed career paths twice. When I line these events up, I sound like a spontaneous gypsy without a care in the world, but the reality is I am a type A personality who finds peace in making to-do lists. 

When I made each of these decisions, I stressed over whether or not I was making a good decision: Am I moving forward, does this make sense financially, what is my end goal? Looking back at all of these integral moments in my life, I can now see how it doesn’t matter whether the decision was right or wrong, only that I made it and learned from it.

I think it is fair to say we all have the moments in life when we can own a mistake and say that in hindsight, maybe, I would have done it differently. As I reflect on my softball career, I can think of plenty of these moments. 

Hustle Is A Choice

Softball is a unique sport. Even at the professional level, softball has a funny way of reminding us that we really know nothing about it. There's no way to predict what will happen in a game that is, in my opinion, 40 percent skill, 30 percent momentum, 20 percent officiating, and 10 percent the will of the softball gods. 

My "I wish I would have…" as a softball player is making more hustle plays. I have played in thousands of "friendly games" in which the only people in the stands are parents and no one keeps score. It is during these games that athletes have the choice to show up and get better or to coast through. When I look back on my travel ball career, I coasted far too often. I relied on talent alone to skate through those long, seven-game weekends.

When I made it to college at Arizona, practice was a battle. There was no such thing as coasting anymore. My head coach, Mike Candrea, ingrained the mindset that practice should be exhausting—that we should give so much of ourselves to the team that when we leave the field we are completely drained. He made it impossible not to lay out for the ball in the gap, to sprint the 60 feet to first, and to take the extra bag when the defense is sleeping. 

Throughout college, I had the opportunity to play on some of the largest stages our sport has to offer against strong competition where hustle plays are the difference between a win and loss, and in hindsight, I wish I had implemented Coach Candrea's mindset sooner. 

Time Stops For No One

College was the longest short four years of my life. I remember feeling like every summer and fall was dragging on and that the Tucson heat would never break. The early-morning workouts were gut-wrenching every day, making falling asleep the night before dreadful because the sun always rose way too fast. But when I look back, those mornings are some of my fondest memories of my time at the University of Arizona. 

In hindsight, if I knew then what I know now, I would have appreciated the camaraderie formed by conquering a tough workout at 6 AM with my best friends. I would recognize much sooner that no matter how fast or slow the time "feels" like it is going by it’s always ticking away. I would realize that there will never be another time in life when softball players have a group of people all dedicated to the same goal, with the full support of an entire town and university. 

To Be Present

When athletes who aren't in college talk about that level of the sport, we tend to talk only about the team, rankings, etc. But when you are a current college athlete, teammates talk a lot more about school work than people may assume. During my time at Arizona, it seemed that our team always had our computers out in the locker room and was helping each other succeed the best we could in the classroom.

In hindsight, I wish I would have dedicated more time to understanding concepts rather than just doing the minimum to get by. I wish I would have been more present in each class and soaked in each bit of information rather than taking it for granted. As I move forward in life I try my best to adopt this mentality in whatever I do, including in the office, at the gym, and on the field. It is important to not only show up places, but it’s even more important to be present in your mind to be immersed in these experiences. 

Truly, I think I could ramble on forever with "If I knew then what I know now…" but the truth of the matter is that we only know what we know. If you're like me, you'll read this, move forward, and make similar mistakes and learn by doing. I'm sure I still have thousands of mistakes to make and hundreds of pieces of good advice to ignore ahead of me. But if I can leave a ballplayer with the advice that has stuck with me my entire career it is to say thank you. Thank your parents, coaches, trainers, managers, field crew, professors, advisors, and everyone else you run into on your softball journey. Don't wait until college to thank people. Start today. A gesture of thanks goes a long way. 

I am grateful for all of my experiences, for they have each shaped me into the person I am today. Growing up is full of "I wish I would have…" moments. It is easy to look back and say that I wish I knew then what I know now, but the truth is that I don't. I believe we need learning experiences and need to fail. We need to be out of our comfort zone and to go into some things blind. That is how we grow, how we get better, and most importantly how we mature. 

Northwestern Southpaw Danielle Williams Does It All

College Softball Is Here

A four-time FloSoftball High School All-American during her years at Amador Valley High School, Northwestern first-year Danielle Williams made the move to Evanston from Pleasanton, California as the Prep2Prep Sports 2018 North Coast Section Player of the Year and first-team All-North Coast Section.

Rising Star: Aspen Wesley, Future Mississippi State Ace

Aspen Wesley once had visions of playing college basketball. But when the No. 1 Neshoba Central (Mississippi) High Rockets pitcher got her first taste of pitching in the circle at age eight, softball became her new passion.

NPF 2019 Draft Selections Announced

The Chicago Bandits select Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NPF draft. 

2019 NPF College Draft: How To Watch

It's that time of the year! Some of the best seniors in the nation are taking the next step to become professional athletes. National Pro Fastpitch will be holding its college draft at ACME Feed & Seed in Nashville. Who will be the No. 1 pick this year?

Jessie Harper, Dejah Mulipola, Alyssa Palomino Blast Arizona Record Books

The junior class for the Arizona Wildcats is on a mission to be one of the greatest collection of players not just in program history, but in the nation. Leading the way are a trio — Jessie Harper, Dejah Mulipola, and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza — who have combined for 50 home runs this season, the most for any three players from one team.

2019 NPF Mock Draft

Historically, pitchers have been the top picks in the NPF draft but we predict this year will be different. Cowles Cup champs USSSA Pride and runner-up Chicago Bandits are stacked with elite pitchers and are in need of position players to strengthen their lineups and defense.

Rising Star: 2020 McNeese State-commit Aaliyah "Papi" Ortiz

Aaliyah Ortiz is better known as “Papi” or “Big Papi,” by her teammates and coaches. The nickname fits, not just because she shares the same last name as the Boston Red Sox star, but because of how her offensive impact on the softball field resembles that of David “Big Papi” Ortiz. 

Through Adversity, Tara Trainer Learns the True Meaning of Success

EXCLUSIVE: On The Field With Indiana

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloSoftball!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

It’s easier to have fun when things are going well. Indiana Hoosiers right-hander Tara Trainer was having her share of good times as a freshman in 2016.

How The NW Bullets Emerged As The Northwest's Premier Club

In 2005, Dennis Muir, Tony Campos, and Warren Hall started the Northwest Bullets. This team of coaches wanted to provide a program for players from the Northwest that would allow them to train and play on the national stage. Campos added, “The purpose of the team was to bring together the best athletes in the northwest, to develop their skills and prepare them to play on a national stage and be recruited by top programs.”

NPF College Draft Returns To Nashville & Acme For Third Year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 5, 2019)– National Pro Fastpitch will hold its annual NPF College Draft for the third consecutive year at the ACME Feed and Seed, located on 1st and Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The event will take place on Monday, April 15th at 7:00 pm CT.