Get to know assistant softball coach Lindsay Mapes in this addition of "Pull Back the Plaid Curtain!"
1. What drew you to being a coach – why the path to intercollegiate athletics?
As a student athlete, I was able to be a part of an incredible community of fellow student athletes as well as coaches and administrators. This community has helped me celebrate my greatest successes and has more importantly helped me to cope with some of the most difficult times of my life. I learned just as much if not more from my community and team as I did from my coaches and mentors. I was drawn to coaching because I see it as an opportunity to help other young student athletes build that same community, so that they might learn and grow themselves. Sport is important to the development of young people as it offers athletes another medium to learn about life and to learn about themselves. Intercollegiate sport in particular happens at the perfect intersection when students are in new and uncomfortable positions, and because of this they have the largest opportunity to learn. I love getting to see that process in real time as a coach.
2. What is your favorite memory about being a coach/employee at Carnegie Mellon?
I really loved seeing the way that the Athletic Department found creative ways to stay connected during April and May of 2020 when the pandemic had just started. The department’s dedication to keeping their students engaged and connected with each other demonstrated their commitment to serving the students in any way they could.
I also appreciated seeing the ways that the SAAC group approached freshman orientation this fall. In a year where some may have accepted a less than impactful orientation experience, they went above and beyond to make their time useful. They made great strides in starting an inclusive conversation with a new class of student-athletes and in the process encouraged those same types of conversations with their peers. Better yet, this orientation helped to push the conversation of Equity and Inclusion to the rest of the Athletic Department.
3. What is your favorite thing about campus at Carnegie Mellon University?
I really enjoy how close the campus is to a few city parks. This makes it a bit more fun for me to ride my bicycle to work!
I also enjoy the mix of architecture on campus. It is nice to see an appreciation for older buildings mixed in with new designs.
4. Who has been the most influential person in your career?
For me, rather than having one individual person, I am constantly drawing on my inner circle and my community to help me make career decisions. This is a core group of people who know me very well, and who I also know very well. I have taken time to build trusting relationships with each individual and I know that they love and care about me just as much as I love and care about them. Because of the relationships I have built with this inner circle, I know that they empathize with me and I know that they will communicate the truth to me as they see it. These people have helped me to make some of the most important decisions in my life. Most importantly, when my “perfect” plans veer off course they help me to see the alternatives that were there all along. My brother and parents are at the top of this list, and my friend Tristen is close to follow. Of course I could not leave out my old teammate and catcher Nicoletta Cuccio, and our former coach Ophir Sadeh. I would probably not make it through a week without a call from one or all of these people.
5. What is the most memorable athletic event you have witnessed / been a part of outside of Carnegie Mellon Athletics?
The most memorable athletic event that I participated in would be the 2016 Division II Championship Festival. The entire event was an incredible thing to be a part of as a student-athlete. It was great to see the way so many different sports could gather and share in each other’s successes. While I was there I also had the opportunity to play against a teammate from my club team! While the entire week was incredible, there are two very memorable moments in our games for me. The first was when I had to field a slow roller in the alley between third, short and the mound. I was able to get a clean glove on it and got the force out at third with a glove flip. The next was walking the bases loaded twice with intentional walks in the same inning. In each instance this was something my team and I had done in practices and in games very frequently. Glove flips and intentional walks were a part of every practice I had with my team, however they were a bit unusual in the rest of the softball community. I can still remember the reaction of the other team when they realized I was intentionally walking them. It was not something they were used to and it spoke volumes to myself and my team about our system.
6. If you weren't coaching, what would you see yourself doing?
There are many things that I do outside of coaching that I love just as much! I hope someday soon to be able to teach in a classroom as well as on the field. I feel very strongly about the importance of community outreach education and helping people learn to communicate effectively with each other. In Lindsay’s dream world, I would go into a community and help the group to document their personal histories as a way to document the collective history of the physical community. My alter ego Linda (aka Grandma Linda) is considering opening an Etsy shop for her knitting projects. Linda already has an Instagram account dedicated to her quarantine cooking projects.
7. What is one thing that no one knows about you?
Generally speaking, I am an open book, but I think something that is not widely circulated but crucial to my experience as a human is my inability to whistle. My family is full of superb whistlers, some with their fingers and some without, but the skill still eludes me to this day. I have been given many lessons but nothing has taken. I am always accepting more pointers though as whistling seems like so much fun. I always feel a bit sad when I hear whistling in a song and know that I won’t be able to participate, humming along just is not the same.
For other department member responses, visit Pull Back the Plaid Curtain.