ELISABETH HASSELBECK … COHOST OF THE VIEW … SURVIVOR: THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK FINAL FOUR … WIFE OF NEW YORK GIANTS BACKUP QUARTERBACK TIM HASSELBECK Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. JOHN W OODEN, legendary UCLA basketball coach 152 IT’S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME Ijoined a softball league when I was nine, and my dad was so supportive that he got me this incredible glove. As soon as I had one practice, I knew I had a problem. I wanted to play shortstop, and they already had a shortstop. I was just obsessed with beating this girl out, and I finally found a way to do it, too. Not by manipulative means, but by earning it with the glove and the bat.
I did not have to be convinced to work hard. I just kind of knew that’s what it takes. And I was right. I played softball through high school, but once I got accepted to Boston College, I thought that would be it. They had a top-flight Division I team and since I wasn’t recruited, I didn’t plan on playing. But somehow my dad convinced me to walk on. I came back from my first practice humiliated. I called him on the phone and just ripped into him, because I was in way over my head. I didn’t get my bat on one ball and I knew I needed to show something of my game, so I made sure to display my speed. Thankfully, BC had and still has this incredible coach named Jen Finley, and for some reason she left me on the team. I remember when they were announcing the players who made it and she called my name my first reaction was to say, Are you sure? Now that I think of it, I did the same thing I did at nine that I did at nineteen. To become the shortstop, I showed off my bat and how to make the cutoff. But my best asset was speed and Coach Finley liked speed, so I spent the entire season as a pinch runner.
I learned to adjust to adverse circumstances, and I still use that quality today. LET THE SACRIFICE BEGIN In fact, I spent two years solely as a pinch runner. So there I was, getting up for 4:00 am practices, going to all the games, working out in the offseason, playing an off-season schedule as a specialty player, and yet I still loved it. After two years, though, I was determined to crack the lineup, so I stayed at school in the summer, found a job and a hitting tee, and just hit and threw until my hitting got better and my arm got stronger. And it ELISABETH HASSELBECK 153 paid off, because I became the starting right fielder and was named captain of the team. Senior year, I was expecting to make a real breakout, but I tore my rotator cuff and sat and watched the entire season. It was awful. WHAT I LEARNED Because of playing college softball I found how important it is to never be late.
If I was late for the morning practices, and I was, twice, the whole team paid the price by running the stairs as punishment. So we rarely ever slipped up, if only because we didn’t want our teammates to suffer the consequences. Today, if I’m even a minute late for The View, I’m in a full sweat. Why? Because not only am I conditioned to be on time, I know how it hurts everyone on the team, or in this case, on the show, if I’m not there when I should be. THANKS, DAD Overall, it was a tremendous experience and I owe it all to my dad. He was the one who got me out there and played with me. He was the one who got me the best equipment, even though we were far from wealthy. And I am just so thankful that he did. I know you’re supposed to go to college and forget everything your parents taught you, but I never did. I always knew that he believed in me, and I thought I just couldn’t let him down. He put so much value in my drive to play. He would wrap my glove and prep it for the new season. He instinctively knew what I grew to know, that I loved being part of the team. He knew that the discipline I derived from sports would help me in anything I did in the future. And he was right. SURVIVOR There’s no doubt that participating in sports helped me advance to the Survivor finals in Australia.
I was trained to do whatever it took to be successful, and I also understood the concept of team. Both these qualities help you shine in Survivor. I was also able to outperform hundreds of contenders to join The View as their new cohost. I think it worked because I knew how to get along with my other hosts. I know that it’s all about the 154 IT’S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME team, not me, and in this case the show is one of the most successful ones on TV today, because of the team. I have to believe that I got the job and did so well on Survivor because of my years playing softball. I don’t quit and will do whatever it takes to stay on the field. MY WRAP If anyone understands the need to compete at any level at any time in any sport on any day, it’s Elisabeth. She knows what it’s like to be a pro, like her husband, Tim, who plays for the Giants, and her brother-in-law, Matt, who took the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl. You just know that her daughter, Grace, has the kind of parents who will give her the right encouragement, drive, and outlook to make it in some kind of sport. ELISABETH HASSELBECK
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