April 22, 2010
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Her roommate calls her "Mighty Mouse," but Lobo Cristin Anderson says you "can't be Superwoman every day."
Well, maybe not Superwoman when it comes to pounding softballs and lifting your team to victories, but the Lobos' All-Mountain West candidate at second base seems to have stumbled on a way to have a super attitude every day.
She does it by being Cristin Anderson.
"She puts out this vibe that just draws people to her," says roommate Danielle Castro. "The girls on the team turn to her because she is such a positive influence for everyone. And it's not just softball. Cristin has a positive attitude about everything she does in life."
Lobo coach Ty Singleton agrees. "Players like Cristin are why you coach," he said. "She shows up every day with a smile on her face and pushes herself and her teammate to be better. I don't remember a day that she hasn't shown up with great attitude and done everything she can to keep her teammates motivated."
It hasn't been an easy season on Anderson. The Lobos have stumbled upon some hard times on the field. Anderson, from Vacaville, Calif., lost a grandfather in the fall and her great-grandmother passed away this month.
"It's hard when you aren't there," she said. "But I know they are still proud of me and I keep pushing through for them.
"I can't say I'm always in a good mood. There are days when things happen. But I always try to be in a good mood on the field. That's my escape. That's my time to have fun. I feel as a senior it's my job to get everybody going, get everyone enthusiastic about the game."
Anderson leads by attitude, but she also walks the walk. She leads the Lobos in at-bats (112), hits (42), runs (31), total bases (64) and walks (19). Of the Lobos with more than 40 at-bats, she tops the team in slugging percentage, batting average (.375) and on-base percentage.
Castro calls her teammate "Mighty Mouse" because of an attitude and a confidence that makes Anderson perform at a high level, despite not being the biggest or the strongest Lobo out there.
"She believes she can achieve anything and with that mindset she goes out and does it," said Castro. "She is a like a Mighty Mouse."
Anderson, who also leads UNM in home runs with four, probably doesn't fit the stereotype for softball players. She also doesn't fall into the prototype mold.
The Lobos list her at 5-foot-3, but she claims to be a tad taller. She does admit to being the lightest Lobo on the roster and threatens to gain weight to pass up a few her teammates in that category.
"That might not be a good idea anymore," Anderson says, reflecting on her senior status and life after softball.
"But people look at me and say, `You're a softball player? You look like a soccer player.' My mom played softball and didn't get recruited in her day because she was small. But there is a lot of speed in the game now."
There also is the need for players who can lead their team in most key statistical categories while also being an inspirational leader or maybe a shoulder to lean on. "Cristin is there for everyone," says Castro.
Anderson grew up in Vacaville, Calif., located off I-80 between San Francisco and Sacramento. "We were all about sports," Anderson said of her family. "I played everything. I played soccer for about six years and it was kind of like, `I don't want to be running all the time.'
"I loved all the aspects of softball. You have to be a balanced athlete. You have to hit, throw, field, run. I liked the challenge of doing all those things. I knew I could do well in softball, so I stuck with it."
After high school ball (Vanden High in Fairfield, Calif.), Anderson went down the road to play two years at Sacramento City College. She was a two-time All-Conference player there and caught the eye of the Lobos. She started all 48 games at second for UNM in 2009 and hit .303, scoring 38 runs.
She was very good as a junior and is a standout as a senior.
"There have been some tough days this year because I want to win so badly," she said. "I don't know if the whole team has bought into it, but we can't give up. This is my last year and I want to go out knowing I gave everything I could on that field
"I play for self pride, for my family, for the coaches, for the girls on the team. It's important for me to play with heart and enough heart so that people can see how much softball means to me. I'm not sure some of the younger girls understand what it is to play with a pride that comes from your heart."
Of course, it wouldn't be a difficult thing for the younger Lobos to learn about playing with pride, heart and even a smile.
All they have to do is look over at second base.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.