ALWAYS BY OUR SIDE

By Amber & Autumn Bishop

Our whole lives have been filled with competition. It must’ve all started when we were racing to see who would be born first. But no need to disclose who won, right?

Growing Up

Ever since we could walk, sports were a constant companion. Looking back, we really don’t know how our parents managed to take and pick us up from all the practices and competitions. Seriously, we played just about every sport when we were younger. 

One sport in particular always stood out though – softball.

Softball runs in our blood. Well, that’s how we like to put it. Our mom was still playing in a softball league when she was pregnant with us. So, it’s at least in our DNA. 

As far as our journeys go, we started playing when we were six years old. One of the biggest reasons we loved it was because we had fun with it. As cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth. A lot of kids grow up only worrying about winning and losing. But we didn’t feel that way with softball. Whenever we were on the field, it was all about enjoying the game and getting better. 

And when we were not on the field, our parents practiced with us at home. They really were our biggest supporters from the get-go.

One other aspect of softball that immediately clicked with us was that while softball is a team sport, a lot of individual responsibility goes into it as well. Whether you’re at bat, or just fielding a grounder, you’re the only one who can make the play. But of course, everything you do contributes to the outcome of the team. It’s a real balance between the two, and a big reason why we still love the sport.

Speaking of balance, having your twin and best friend by your side from the get-go definitely added to the excitement. You see, one of the best parts of our relationship is that we look up to each other. We may look alike, but trust us, we still have very different personalities. We’re like Yin and Yang. This has always helped us approach various situations from all sorts of angles. And more often than not, it allowed us to learn from one another.

High School Days

Up until our junior year of high school, we were splitting our focus between softball and volleyball. At that point, we had to make a decision. 

It ended up being a fairly easy call. It was time to say goodbye to volleyball.

We chose softball because it was more enjoyable. Sometimes there are a lot of factors behind big life decisions, but for us, it was just about doing what we love. Simple as that.

One of the things we loved about softball was that it reminded us of our dad. We lost our dad when were younger and going through the hardship of that tragedy was really tough on us. Softball allowed us to relive some of the memories we had with him. And that was priceless.

Focusing on softball started to pay off, as we began to receive scholarship offers from across the country. We both knew we were ready to move away from home, go somewhere different, and experience something new. 

Towards the end of our recruiting process, we were down to just two schools. 

What eventually drew us to Liberty was Coach Richardson’s response to a very particular question our mom had asked her. 

Our mom called Coach and asked how she’d feel about just one of us coming instead of the both of us. And Coach Richardson pretty much told our mom that even if she only got one of us, it’d be a success.

This was such an important factor for all of us. We didn’t want to be “the twins”. No, we wanted to be valued as Amber and Autumn… valued individually. 

So, we decided to sign with the Liberty Flames.

Far from Home

We moved from Southern California to the middle of Virginia. Not sure we could’ve chosen a place further from home. But since we were with one another, we always had a little piece of home with us. And we think that’s what made our transition so smooth.

Another reason we didn’t struggle too much with the move was that our mom and step-dad decided to move closer to us after just one semester of college. So much for giving us room to breathe, guys.

In all seriousness, we love to joke, but more importantly, we love having them out here. They’re so welcoming to all the other girls from the team. We often find ourselves inviting our teammates to come over for a nice home-cooked meal.

And as weird as this may sound but a home-cooked meal is a symbol of, well, home. And for many of us, college is the first time we’re leaving our families behind and take a stab at this independence thing. So, we genuinely feel like our mom and step-dad helped us, but also many of our teammates, with the transition.

Not sure we could’ve chosen a place further from home. But since we were with one another, we always had a little piece of home with us. And we think that’s what made our transition so smooth.

Liberty Softball

But, enough about our family, let’s get down to our softball careers at Liberty.

Over the past three seasons, we have both been recognized nationally and earned some prestigious awards. 

But to be honest with you, as proud as we are of these accomplishments, being a part of this team and helping shape the culture here at Liberty is far more rewarding than any trophy can resemble.

We both try our best to honor and glorify God through the way we play and the passion we have for the sport. And instilling a similar attitude is one of the main goals we strive for with regards to leaving our footprint on the culture here.

When our careers come to a close, the number #1 thing we will take away from our time here are the family-like bonds with our teammates. We’ve been blessed with the absolute best teammates one can picture.

Also, the coaches here play a major role in defining this program. Ever since we first picked up a bat, we always had close ties to our coaches. That didn’t change when we came to Liberty. Top-to-bottom, everyone on the coaching staff cares about every single player on the team. It’s hard to get that connection anywhere else.

Future Plans

After this season, the real world starts to kick-in. For starters, we’re both getting married next year. And before you ask, no, they are not twin brothers. With school finishing up, we’re both pursuing Master’s Degrees.

To conclude this story, we would like to share some “words of advice” to incoming softball players. We’ve seen and experienced a lot over the past three seasons. Hopefully, these sentences resonate with some of you.

 

Dear Lady Flames,

We’ve both learned a lot throughout our time here. Nothing is more important than to continue to love the game. Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you should lose your passion for softball. Every day we’ve played this game, we’ve stepped onto the field as if it’s the last time we ever will. And if you all have that same mindset, some truly amazing things will happen here at Liberty.

Copyright 2019 · 1971 University Boulevard · Lynchburg, VA 24515 · (434) 582-2000

Copyright 2019 · 1971 University Boulevard
Lynchburg, VA 24515 · (434) 582-2000

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