Mizzou Softballer's Story Has a Special Ring to It
COLUMBIA - The Missouri softball team has nine seniors this season, but one voice stands out above the rest.
Coach Ehren Earleywine says the most important traits Catherine Lee brings to the Tigers are her passion, energy, and enthusiasm.
She's the one who keeps the team relaxed, but there is more to Lee than you might think. Her story has a special ring to it.
Catherine Lee transferred to Mizzou from Georgia State, but she brought more than just a big bat with her.
"She's the most outgoing, social person I've ever met in my life, and I thought well, she's just exaggerating, but she wasn't exaggerating at all," Earleywine said.
Said Lee, "Anybody that knows me knows I like to talk, talk, talk. The trick is to get me to stop."
You can't stop her mouth. And opposing pitchers, they seem to have trouble stopping her bat. Lee is a fixture in the middle of the Mizzou lineup.
"She's a feast or famine type hitter. She comes out of her shoes on every swing, but when she runs into one it's gone and I've always been a big fan of the home run," Earleywine said.
Said Lee, "I'm always in a great mood. I'm always positive and thinking positive, knowing that the best is going to happen no matter what."
Amazing optimism from a person who suffered a great loss at young age. When Cat Lee was four, her father, David Lee, passed away.
"It's definitely a gap that's been there growing up, and it will always be there," Lee said. "There's just pictures of him doing ridiculous fun things, and I feel like we can relate to that."
On her 21st birthday, Lee's mom gave her a gift: a ring with a close connection to her dad.
"Your dad gave it to me when y'all were born, and she never told us about it. It meant more than anything she'd ever given to me," Lee said.
And the ring hasn't left her since.
"She wears it all the time, to practice, games, anywhere, and I think it's great that she wears it," teammate Rhea Taylor said.
"Sometimes, I will have it in my back pocket when we're playing in games which I know is not the smartest thing to do," Lee said. "It is such a big symbol of him being there."
A present from her past.
"I wonder how cool it would be if my dad could be here," Lee said. "I like to think that we get a lot of our personality from him."
And Lee says, if there are more trophies in her future, in her mind, her Dad will be there.
"You can't help but think about it. He comes to mind, but it's in a good way. It's in a great way. I know that he's sitting there watching being like wow that's great," Lee said.
Growing up, Cat worked at an all-girls Christian camp with her twin sister Martha. She says they would share the story of their loss to help others through tough times.
Cat Lee's twitter status says she "Has her eyes set on one thing... A national championship."