GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Amanda Chidester is one of the greatest softball players to ever wear the block M for the University of Michigan.
Ten years after graduating, the Allen Park native and two-time Big Ten player of the year still credits her old coach Carol Hutchins for a lot of her success.
“She always pushed,” Chidester recalled in a recent video call. “It was like … ‘I’m going great right now, just let me be.’ And she was like, ‘There is more in you. There’s more in you. I’m going to get it out.’ And she got on me and on me. I was like, ‘Ah!’ But there was more in me.”
That has led her to the Olympics. She’ll be the starting catcher for Team USA when the games begin in Tokyo this summer — and she says it’s just in time.
“This was going to be my last go-round no matter what,” she said.
Staying ready for this Olympics has been a challenge. At one point, Chidester went three months without playing softball at all.
“Talk about so many unknowns,” she said. “That’s tough, especially coming from an athlete who has everything planned months and months in advance.”
She said the postponement of the games gave the team time to prepare, but now they’re training knowing family and friend won’t be in the stands.
“All my family was coming, every single one of them. It’s a bummer; a huge bummer,” Chidester said. “But they are still going to support me. But if it was canceled, I can’t even imagine the feelings. It would be devastating.”