We’re thrilled to meet one of the many faces of women’s softball in Australia!
With interest for the game growing on home soil and internationally, Samantha Poole is one woman truly living her dreams each day as a positive advocate for young girls in Australia.
As a result of her hard work, commitment and enthusiasm she embarked on an exciting opportunity to play softball internationally in Japan with the Aussie Spirit team.
Professionally, Samantha is a devoted physiotherapist in neurological rehabilitation, selflessly serving others through her love and care for patients and families.
SO… it is an absolute privilege to share Samantha’s inspiring story with you.
Let’s discover her admiration for her team mates, lessons learned throughout her career and how her family played a vital role in influencing her positive attitude, love for the outdoors and of course sports!
Bev: First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself. SO… what are you passionate about?
Samantha: There is a great quote I once read which has stuck with me “Life is too short to be lukewarm” and I try to put this into practice by being enthusiastic about life, whatever I may be doing!
Helping people is important to me. I work as a Physiotherapist in Neurological Rehabilitation which I absolutely love. At the moment I work within a specific unit for those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and we help them learn how to use their body again.
It’s tough but rewarding work and I get a huge amount of inspiration from the patients and their families. Every morning I am reminded of how lucky I am to even be healthy and able to walk and talk.
I’m a lover of the outdoors and I enjoy most sports – softball, AFL, snowboarding and anything to do with the beach are my favourites. Travel is my next biggest love in life. I enjoy adventures big or small and I’m lucky to get to do some travel with work and sport over the past few years.
I’m very grateful to have an amazing network of family and friends around me whom I enjoy spending time with and love very dearly. I’m very aware that life would be nothing without the people around you and I’m fortunate to have many beautiful people to share it all with!
BB: We admire that you play women’s softball. What motivated you to pursue this?
SP: My softball journey started with tee ball over twenty years ago (I sound so old!) because my dad was playing baseball with some mates so when I was six, I was signed to his club ‘North Ryde Rams’. I started playing softball in primary school and really enjoyed it. One of my teachers coached a club team and I owe him a lot for encouraging me to play outside of school. I signed up to the local club team, ‘Scorpions’ at Redlands in Queensland and never looked back!
Softball is a very skillful sport so you can always keep improving which mainly continues to motivate me. There is always a way to work on your game and develop your skills, you just never stop getting better if you work at it!
The team environment is also why I play. I love my ‘teamies’, the banter at training and working hard to make each other better. You become friends for life and when going into battle on the softball field we have each others backs!
BB: What are some valuable life lessons that you have learned through the recent opportunity of playing internationally in the Aussie Spirit team for the Japan Cup?
SP: Playing with the Aussie Spirit has been a huge honour and motivated me to kick my game to the next level which is needed for international softball. I loved the intense competition and fast play. I was out of my comfort zone in many ways but the team and coaching staff are amazing. I really enjoyed the challenge.
My biggest life lesson is to never give up! I’m 28 years old, and got an opportunity to go on my first international tour… a late bloomer for any Aussie rep!
BB: What has been the influence of your family with sports? Is there a particular family member that you share a love for the game with?
SP: My family have always been very supportive with sport providing lots of encouragement but in a relaxed way. They have taught me to try my best but always have fun and enjoy what your doing. I started playing AFL this season and they would come to watch even though I was terrible and they have no knowledge of the game, they enjoy watching me play and have fun.
Mum pulled off the best surprise and well kept secret by travelling to Japan to watch me play recently. I had no idea and you couldn’t get the smile off my face when I saw her standing outside the stadium before our first game!
Mum is one of the lucky ones who can say she has survived a battle with cancer making these experiences with her a blessing and even more special. Dad definitely had more of the sporty genes playing competitive rugby league in his earlier years and Mum is more of a bushwalking/swimming/non-competitive type but her love for nature and being active has rubbed off a lot.
My three siblings and I had a very active life growing up and all played a variety of sports. My youngest brother is now a surf boat rower for Mona Vale.
BB: What were your interests to growing up in school? How did you balance leading an active lifestyle with your home/work commitments?
SP: Like many young sporty kids I spent a fair amount of time at the physio with various injuries and thought it would be a pretty cool job in the future! I was always interested in P.E. and science so studied hard towards the end of school and just scrapped into a physio degree at university, then had to study even harder!
School and uni days were jam-packed, it was difficult to fit everything in and I was always exhausted by the time I went to bed, often late at night. But I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I think softball helped a lot during this time. Although it was busy, I would look forward to training and running around with my teamies at the end of the day.
This is still my attitude now. I rush from work to training and enjoy having the time to clear my head and have some laughs with the girls!
BB: What have been some of your highlights during your softball career? What are some of the challenges?
SP: The recent Japan Cup was definitely a highlight, it was a tough, hot week of playing ball but I loved every second of it! It was my first international tour and I hit a home run in the final… a feeling I hope I never forget!
I have had many challenges, missed selection on a lot of teams and had a few injuries to deal with as well. I’m very competitive but mostly with myself – not others – so when I’m not performing to how I would like it’s easy to get down on myself.
Dealing with failure is one of the biggest lessons in all sports, you can’t always win! It’s your ability to turn bounce back and learn from these tough times that makes you a better athlete/person.
I have been a member of the NSW open women’s team called the ‘Firestars’ for six years and have won the National title three out of those six years. Our Aussie national competition is very tough and competitive. We train for months leading up to the main tournament and these wins have been some of these most memorable moments in softball.
I also really enjoy coaching and some of the most rewarding moments are seeing someone else do well! My club team recently won their grand final, I’m so proud of them and the feeling is just as sweet as any victory of my own!
BB: Is there anyone in particular that you look up to personally or professionally? What qualities do you admire most about them?
SP: I don’t have any particular idol, my few role models in life are people who are comfortable in their own skin, honest and passionate at what they do. I think it’s the most attractive quality in a person when they truly love what they do whether it’s sport a hobbies or work, you see them get excited and really care about it.
I admire many athletes from different sports for two main reasons, attitude and those who are genuinely good sports players, not only successful but display good sportsmanship.
BB: What advice would you like to personally share to young girls and women interested in pursuing softball?
SP: Softball is the greatest sport ever! Of course I’m biased but it’s a fun team sport great for people of all ages. You are guaranteed to make new friends and develop new skills which will help you throughout life.
The Softball Australia website will be able to provide information on local clubs in your area and there is a fun new form of softball called “Social 7’s” that will grow over the next few years.
SO… I dare you to challenge yourself and give it a go!
BB: SO… what are your future plans, hopes and dreams? Final message.
SP: Just to keep growing as a person and enjoy the ride. I would like to work in remote and rural areas of WA and NT so hopefully I get an opportunity to do that one day. I love playing softball, it’s part of who I am and while I still enjoy it, I will keep playing.
It’s a very exciting time as softball is back into the Olympics for Tokyo in 2020. It would be an incredible experience to represent your country at an Olympics so I will keep trying to play at my best and see what happens!
My advice would be, do what you find fun and be passionate about it… “Life is too short to be lukewarm!”