Softball: Arizona coach Mike Candrea talks about ‘not getting swallowed up in the past’
Last season, the Wildcats lost to OU at home in a Super Regional, meaning Arizona missed the Women’s College World Series for just the second time since 1988.
A few minutes later, he expanded on that comment when I asked if the great history of Arizona softball can be, in some ways, a burden.
He gave a four-minute answer that was quite revealing, I thought.
Here is the full answer he gave to my question:
“It can be (a burden). There’s many times that I’ve thought about taking our stadium and just emptying it. I think these kids are constantly reminded of 50 All-Americans, eight championships, this and that. Really what it comes down to is the present moment and trying to leave your own legacy.
“That’s a big part of the recruiting process for us: trying to find kids that embrace the challenge of being part of something bigger than what they are. … That’s a very big and important part of building a program is tradition, but you have to use it the right way; it shouldn’t be a threat, although in this day and age, I think we have kids that we’ve had to teach them how to be competitive.
“When I was a kid, I don’t care if I was playing four-square or playing checkers, I was out to win. There was a winner and a loser all the time. These kids have grown up in a different era now, where their biggest goal is to get exposed, to get a college education. Therefore, there are very few times we go out in the summer and watch a kid truly compete through a loser’s bracket. To me, that’s where you find out a lot about athletes.
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