As the softball season draws to a close, athletes across the country are finding solace in a well-deserved break. For some, it's a chance to rest their bodies and minds after an intense few months on the field. In this exclusive interview, Black Sox Captain Cole Evans shares insights into how he is spending his break, his aspirations for the upcoming season, and the lessons learned along the way.
For Cole, the break is a precious opportunity to step away from the softball field and reconnect with loved ones. While the season may not have been as long as usual, starting early due to the World Cup, it still felt like a significant stretch. The break allows Cole to spend quality time with friends and family, relishing their support and creating lasting memories. It's a chance for Cole to unwind, recharge, and focus on other activities he enjoys before gearing up for the American season with the New York Gremlins. "I am super excited about it. I had such a great summer last year and the New York Gremlins are such a fantastic team to be a part of. I’m really looking forward to it."
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Cole is filled with anticipation. With hopes for favourable weather, he eagerly awaits the chance to participate in the big local tournaments missed this year. These events provide a platform for athletes to showcase their skills and compete against top-tier teams, fuelling softball's fire of competition and camaraderie.
Being active during the break is essential for Cole to maintain peak physical condition. Cole employs a variety of methods to stay fit and engaged. Running, hitting the gym, cycling, and even catching a wave on his surfboard all contribute to his overall well-being. Cole says "They also double as good stress relievers for me throughout the season."
When asked about advice for young players during the break, Cole emphasises the importance of staying fit. Cole encourages the youth to engage in regular active and fitness sessions. "A couple of active/fitness sessions a week will make a huge difference when the season rolls back around. This means you can have more quality training but also quantity of training, as your body has built up that threshold over the off-season."
Reflecting on the past season, Cole reminisces about the club's nationals final win over Porirua. The sense of accomplishment and camaraderie experienced during that match was unparalleled, a testament to the dedication and teamwork that defines the sport. "They are such a quality team and it was one of those games where everything just seemed to go right and fall into place for us."
As Cole has progressed in his career, he offers valuable advice to his younger self: enjoy the game and have fun. Performance pressures often overshadow the joy of playing softball, and Cole encourages young players to appreciate not only the sport itself but also the moments and opportunities it presents. "I put a lot of pressure on myself at a young age to perform and play well and probably didn’t take enough time to enjoy my softball, but also the different moments I got to play in and with legends of our sport."
Cole was the first to get his hands on the Easton Synergy bat. As a player who values quality and performance, Cole acknowledges the bat's exceptional craftsmanship and the positive impact it has had on his game. "It’s a fantastic bat, definitely one of the best Easton has produced in a little while."
When asked about the highlight of his season, Cole points to winning the NZ club nationals. He emphasises the sense of gratitude and humility he holds for the opportunity to play with such talented individuals and contribute to his team's accomplishments. "It is such a tough tournament to win and so many great players from around the country have never experienced that, so I consider myself super lucky to be part of a team that has succeeded multiple times, and it is not something I take for granted."
Throughout his career, has played for the Ramblers, a club that holds a special place in his heart. The Ramblers' tight-knit community and unwavering support create a family-like atmosphere for Cole. "Everyone is super supportive within the club and is always willing to put their hand up and help out where needed."
Cole shares a lighthearted pre-game ritual. Although not one for extensive superstitions, he admits to putting the left side of his gear on first, be it batting gloves, shoes, socks, or pants. While the reason behind this tradition remains a mystery, it has become a quirky habit that adds familiarity and routine to his pre-game preparations.
As Cole savours his well-deserved break, his passion for softball remains unwavering. His dedication, coupled with moments of relaxation and reflection, shapes his journey as he eagerly anticipates the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead in the upcoming season.