Up in Langley, British Columbia, five minutes north of the border, Russ Lawrie’s friends and neighbors, maybe 40 strong, invaded his house Tuesday night, watching his satellite and drinking his beer.
And celebrating like crazy. Sort of like Russ himself.
Danielle Lawrie, who unlike her American teammates didn’t grow up watching the Women’s College World Series, became the belle of that ballfield. Lawrie pitched and hit Washington to its first NCAA softball championship, with a 3-2 victory over Florida at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
"They know how hard my dad has trained me to be the athlete I am,” Lawrie said of her Canadian hometown. "I bet they’re just so frickin’ proud.”
That’s the thing about sports. Everyone works hard. No one coasts to an elite level. But the people on the inside, the players and coaches, know the commitment in time and effort it takes to win. And parents know it, too, because this Washington title wasn’t sown in Seattle but in the horse country 30 miles east of Vancouver.
"I know how hard my kid works, and how hard her teammates work,” Russ Lawrie said. "And she got it. She believed.”
ESPN isn’t typically available in British Columbia, so the Lawries didn’t discover the Women’s College World Series until Danielle was 15 or so, watching then while traveling for softball.
But soon enough, Oklahoma City and that championship became the goal — "we don’t really have second-place trophies in our house,” Danielle has said. At the 2007 UW banquet, with Danielle set to take a college season off to play for the Canadian Olympic team, Russ Lawrie told Washington coach Heather Tarr they would return and deliver a title.