Now is the time to ‘Rise and Defend’


When Radford University Head Softball Coach Hope Creasy talks about her players, she does so with pride in their accomplishments and confidence in their growth through the student-athlete experience. Now, as they face the unprecedented circumstances of our time, she hopes they will demonstrate the qualities of mental toughness, motivation and commitment to each other that have contributed to their success.

The present challenges and hardships are not lost on Creasy. This is the first spring since sixth grade that she is not playing or coaching softball. It has been a staple in her life for years, and all of a sudden, that steadfast component has been brought to a halt. “My calendar is a tough reminder of all the games that were already in place,” said Creasy.

However, she circles back to the perspective she instills in her players: nothing taken for granted and no opportunity wasted. “Always play as if it were your last game.”

Coach Hope Creasy (right) talking to Radford University softball player Hunter Mundy.

The challenging circumstances have prompted Creasy, a self-professed “technology grandma,” to become accustomed to video-based team meetings and chat apps for keeping in touch. “There are still things to be done, and we have to continue preparing for the future even though there are still some aspects that are unknown,” said Creasy.

One thing that will be a major benefit for the team is technology for batting practice. Each player will have access to Blast Motion, a swing-analyzing technology that allows players to receive real-time feedback from wherever they are able to practice. This technology was made possible due to a generous contribution from a supporter of the University. As such, players can adapt to remote training conditions and still maintain their commitment to continuous improvement.

Creasy also sees this unexpected break as an opportunity for her players to work on their “mental game,” considering the motivations that underpin their commitment to softball and drive their decision-making processes in life.

“There will be challenges, no doubt, but we will look back on it and be able to say we got through it. It is giving them an opportunity to sit back and reflect on their why,” said Creasy.

A social media post from softball player Hunter Mundy shows the impact Coach Creasy has made on the “mental game” of her players.

She, too, is taking advantage of the chance to look at the big picture and said, “Sometimes, we get in such a pattern of doing things, and we lose sight of why we do them.” If there was ever a doubt as to why she felt called to be a coach, her opportunity to pause and reflect has confirmed she is in the exact role that she is meant to be in.

Creasy’s aspirations extend beyond those of her players and apply to the entire Radford family. “We have a motto of ‘rise and defend’ that goes along with everything we do. We need to carry a championship mindset as we go through life – so we can bounce back stronger than ever,” said Creasy.

Simply put, Creasy’s hope is that through the challenges and struggles, fear and frustration, “we are resilient” as Highlanders.

#HighlandersRise is an initiative to spotlight how Radford University students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members push through fear and frustration to pursue their hopes and dreams, even in trying times. Our resiliency sustains us, and our responsiveness empowers us. The entire Radford family, both near and far, is demonstrating a tremendous amount of strength during the unprecedented times we are facing locally, regionally and globally.

Mar 31, 2020
Caitlyn Scaggs