April 17, 2001
By Chad Beattie
Tallahassee, FL - There are certain people in this world who would rather not be so busy or always on the move at such a fast pace. But don't try to tell that to Staci Brandon she's too busy to listen.
Beginning her college career at Phoenix College in Phoenix, AZ, Brandon embarked on a two and a half year ride to prepare her for the vigor's of not only softball but also her career aspirations.
"Going to Junior College got me prepared," said Brandon. "I went into school my first semester and I partied and I had three surgeries, on my knee, elbow and shoulder. But my time in Phoenix definitely made me more prepared and now I appreciate FSU more."
Now in her first semester in the School of Nursing, coupled with softball, Florida State keeps her on her toes. With classes that begin at eight in the morning and practice that lasts till the evening, you would think she'd be worn out by the end of the day.
"I'm actually up till like three in the morning doing work, it's hard," said Brandon. "We don't have time and everyone complains [in her college] of how much work they have to do and I say `Hey I have softball practice too' and that's six hours of my day where they can go home and study. It's actually made me stronger though."
That double-play combo of school and softball is what makes everything so fun for Brandon. She's the type of person who thrives on that fast pace type of lifestyle only because it's the everyday life she knows.
"In Arizona, it's fast pace all the time and that's why I like nursing, because it's fast paced all the time also," she says.
Sometimes though, the tough times do hit and that is when she is able to lean on family, teammates and loving fiancÚ, Mark. He sits in the grass behind left field every game to support her and even tries to accompany her on road games. And though she only gets to see him a little bit each day, he is still her priority in life right now just as softball is the priority to some of the younger members on the team. But when she can't make it to Mark, there are always 17 other family members to talk to.
"Being a student-athlete, it's hard, you become a family [with your teammates]. All the experiences where you're so stressed out and they're the ones to bring you back up. It's just a tight family."
From her time in nursing classes and softball not only has the fast pace been constant, but also the teamwork that is exerted. In her profession one false move and it could lead to travesty, just as an error in a game could cost you the win, so everyone needs to be on the same page.
"Work as a team," said Brandon. "Everything has to be done as a team, and if it's not, then it's not going to work," she says with determination in her voice. As Brandon ends her Seminole softball days, there are no regrets and a plethora of great memories.
"I'll miss this a lot...but I'll be glad that it's done. It's time to get married, get on with nursing, get on with life."
Hopefully next year when the softball season comes around, as it always does in late winter, we will all be able to see Brandon and her fiancÚ Mark, having fun sitting in the left field grass, watching the game with the grill going.