Manitoban softball player Zoe Hicks is adjusting to the European lifestyle.
The Boissevain, Manitoba product will be spending the rest of her season in the Netherlands where she is playing for Sparks Haarlem in the Dutch Softbal Hoofdklasse. She says the biggest adjustment so far has been the language barrier.
"I have had to challenge myself to be more vocal and really learn how the girls communicate," Hicks explains. "I've learned the Dutch words for 'cutoff' and 'good eye.' It really helps me to make a difference vocally and it also allows my teammates to trust me and my decisions more."
Hicks spent the beginning of this year with the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks where she was the only woman in the men's baseball league. She says she is proud that she fit in there but notes it has made this step a bit more difficult to start off.
"The biggest challenge was getting back to softball pitching. I played five years at the collegiate level but spending time with baseball at the beginning of the summer changed my eyes a little bit," says Hicks. "I have to get used to the underhand pitching angles, get my strike zone dialled in, and focus on what pitches I hit well and need to attack. It's a small shift but it's been getting there."
The Louisiana Tech alumnus finished her final season of university softball earlier this year and will now be trying to play the sport professionally for as long as possible. Hicks describes her number one priority for this season.
"I want to leave here with no regrets," says Hicks. "I want to enjoy my time in Europe and enjoy playing the game. No pressure, no stress, just enjoy where I am and truly live in the moment. My off-season training during the winter, that's when I get back to the serious grind but right now, I want to allow myself to embrace the joy of the game. I'm going to have some fun and celebrate the work I have put in to get here."