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article imageHaylie McCleney talks softball, Tokyo Olympic Games, and success Special

By Markos Papadatos     Apr 1, 2020 in Sports
Two-time champion softball player Haylie McCleney (Team USA) chatted with Digital Journal about her career in the sport and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
McCleney hails from Morris, Alabama. She was an All-American softball player all four years at the University of Alabama. She is a two-time world champion, and she was subsequently named to the Olympic Roster where she will be competing with Team USA Softball in Tokyo.
While the Olympic Games were postponed to 2021 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, they are still referred to as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. "It is tough for me personally, since my whole life revolved around 2020. Softball was voted out of the Olympics after the 2008 Olympic Games, so most athletes have been waiting for four years. We have been waiting for 12 years. It stings a little bit harder in our sport," she said.
"It is not going to affect our roster going from 2020 to 2021, but for us, it's harder since we will be waiting for this moment for 13 years, not five years like most Olympic athletes," she added. "The good news is that the Olympics were not cancelled entirely since there is no guarantee that the sport of softball will be in the Olympic Games in 2024. If the Olympics got canceled, all 18 of our careers would have been over. We were pulling for the postponement and I am glad that we got it. That gave us a lot of reassurance."
The upcoming softball tournament at the Olympic Games in Tokyo will consist of six teams: The United States, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Australia, and Canada.
McCleney is drawn to softball since it's a "true team sport.""You need to rely on players 1 through 18 at any given time. Not one person can take over a game. Softball teaches you to deal with adversity, and there are so many life lessons you can learn in this game," she said.
"Softball is one of the fastest-growing sports in America, which is really cool. We have a lot of little girls out there that really root for us and look up to us," she said.
On the impact of technology on the sport of softball, McCleney said, "Technology has its benefits in any sport. For us specifically, it has been about getting game film and being able to watch pitchers. Coming up with game plans really helps, and the metrics when it comes to speed and exit velocity. Depending on what those numbers say, you can modify those drills in practice, to improve those metrics and see if it improves your performance on the field."
"Technology can be a blessing and a bane. It's all about figuring out what works for you," she added.
For young and aspiring softball players, she said, "Stick with it. Keep working. Take the relationships that you are developing at a young age seriously. Softball for me has been something that I love doing and it has allowed me to make my best friends. You never know when you will need to lean on a friend. It has given me opportunities to travel the world and meet some incredible people. My world is a whole lot less lonely thanks to softball."
Regarding the title of the current chapter of her life, she responded, "Patience."
She expressed her excitement to be represented by CG Sports Management. "It is really exciting. I know Cejih Yung has my best interests at heart. He is a good, genuine person. It's a really good partnership for me and family. We are pumped," she said.
McCleney defined the word success as "not giving up." "The only real failure in life is giving up something that you love," she said. "Keep going and keep getting better every day, and you will find success wherever you go."
For her fans and supporters, she concluded, "Thank you. My fans and family are the reason why I do what I do. I try to inspire as many people as I can. I am a firm believer that if I can do it, anybody can do it. I appreciate all of the stories, fanmail, and e-mails. It really pushes me to keep going, so thank you."
To learn more about Haylie McCleney, follow her on Twitter and check out her website.
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