Macy’s spirit for the game

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STARKVILLE- It’s a Sunday morning after the Mississippi State football team just won their home opener against Memphis. The Bulldog softball team was there late into the night as the football team battled through the rain for victory.

While many other students in the dorms are sleeping after lingering in the rain and a long delay, the freshmen on the softball team wake up early for breakfast. Macy Graf is cooking, and you don’t want to miss it.

“I like to cook a lot, so on the weekends when we’re free, I’ll make this Sunday breakfast for all the freshmen in the dorm,” Graf said. “They just say, ‘We want your food.'”

The menu varies, but it includes waffles, pancakes, bacon, eggs, avocado toast, and fresh fruit before. The dorm hallway has a communal kitchen smack in the middle between the male and female sides of the hallway. Graf has a stove and an oven to work with each morning.

“I always grew up loving food, and my grandmother owned a restaurant at home for a little while,” she said. “She kind of taught me the ins and outs of cooking.”

Cooking was one of the first subjects, but Graf is one who always wants to learn. And that desire to learn was one of the reasons she chose Mississippi State in the recruiting process.

The decision to become a Bulldog came quite quickly. She mentioned the school to her father, and he immediately backed MSU as the choice for the Aledo, Texas native.

“He’s always been a big believer in what I want to do, so every time I said, ‘Dad, let’s go right now,’ we packed up that day and came here for a visit.” , said Graf. “. We came on an official visit, and he fell in love with it, and so did I. It’s weird how some people say when you walk into a campus, you feel it. I felt it. I believe it. . When I got here, I felt it.”

She was even more impressed with her conversations with the Bulldog’s coaches, especially the associate head coach. Josh Johnson.

“On the one hand, Josh is trying to learn a new language, so he can understand what they’re doing,” she said. “He’s trying to figure out how they teach softball in Japan, and I’ve never heard of a coach who goes into learning another language to learn more about the sport.”

She also appreciates the different perspectives that Johnson and the associate head coach Tyler Braton bring to the table as former baseball players alongside the head coach Samantha Rickettsgaming experience.
Graf continues to soak up new information. One of the first drills she did in the batting cages after arriving in Starkville was something completely new.

“We do different hand positions and we use a cricket bat, which I’ve never used before,” she said. “It’s different, but it makes a lot of sense on how to change the angle of your bat and get your right elbow to cross the ball.”

For a player who hopes to one day become a coach, it’s no surprise that learning new playing techniques or new ways of teaching old concepts is a huge draw. A graduate in sports administration, Graf has already spent summers teaching classes and helping the next generation grow.

Listening to her speak, she already sounds a bit like a coach today. One of her repeated phrases was, “You can’t be her. It’s an approach to comparison and self-confidence that many coaches would like to see in their players.

“You can’t compare yourself to other people on the pitch,” Graf said. “I’m only going to be as good as I am in my shoes. I can’t think, ‘Wow, I want to be her.’ Alright, I can work harder to become like her, but I’ll never be her. You can be close to her. You can train as hard as her, but you’ll never be her.

But don’t confuse this mentality with a lack of drive or confidence. Graf also brings a lot of confidence to the table, enough to play one of the most important games of her career knowing she wasn’t at her best.

In Game 2 of a three-game state playoff game in his junior year, Graf took a bad jump to the face that broke his nose. She missed the rest of the game and the opposing team tied the three-game series. They are expected to return the next day for a decisive third game. Graf showed up with an ice pack and started with a triple to set the tone on the way to victory.

“I iced my face in the middle of the sleeves, back and forth,” Graf said. “I had ice in the back of the dugout, but I think that really forced me to focus more on the game and focus on the team just because it might be our last game. .”

This is another repeated coaching message. Any game can be the end of someone’s career. Graf wants to see the next generation make the most of their opportunities and be fully prepared for them.

“In the first year, I hope to learn a lot of new information, a lot of new skills, a lot of new exercises and try to take them home and help the girls who are trying to get here too,” said she declared. . “I just want to be that person to another student-athlete to say, ‘Wow, that really makes sense now,’ and I just want other people to grow their love for the game.”

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