We are sitting down with GOLD!!! Cat pitched on the USA Women's Softball Team which won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and the silver medals in the 2008 and 2020 Summer Olympics.
Cat Osterman 0:00
If this is your first time tuning in and joining me on this podcast, my name is Mandy DiMarzo, and this is "In The Locker Room with Mandy DiMarzo," that's me. Today we are talking to an Olympic gold medalist. So get yourself comfortable, find a quiet space to just log in and listen, reflect, turn inward, all those things. This is going to be an exciting time. Here she is. Oh, this is exciting. Just yep. Just unmute yourself. And then let the world hear your rockstar voice.
There we go. I got it.
Mandy DiMarzo 0:44
Hey girl. There you go. Welcome to Callin. This is the space, this is the space. We're gonna have some awesome conversations. So as people are coming in, Cat, I wanted to hold off and just embarrass you when you're on the phone right now, and just read a little bit about all of your major accomplishments. So people get to know the rockstar that we're talking to today, if you don't mind.
Cat Osterman 1:10
All right. I don't think I have a choice.
Mandy DiMarzo 1:12
No, you don't. You don't at all. And this is this is my exciting time where I get to shine a light on you. I'm Cat Osterman. I mean we're talking to a gold medalist. She is recently retired softball pitcher. You're originally from Houston, Texas. You're gonna correct me if I get any of these little facts wrong. All right, you pitched on the USA women's softball team, which won gold medal? Yes, gold, you guys: 2004 Summer Olympics, they won silver in the 2008 and 2020. We just had Summer Olympics. And we met through a really powerful, impactful, group: Soulful Sweat, and our Bible study. And that's maybe for another conversation, which I would love to dive in with you. And I immediately connected with your spirit and what you stand for and the strength that you embody. And it wasn't until a few months after I realized, oh, wow, and by the way, she wears a lot of medals around her neck. So you have graciously given us your time today, Cat, In The Locker Room. And really what we do in here is we talk about the things that, frankly, I'm missing off of as an athlete, and I, you know, you are what all athletes strive to be. You're an Olympic athlete, where I can relate to you--and I'm not going to minimize too much, because that would just pick up this entire episode--but the, as playing on a team sport, it's those in between moments and the conversations in the bond with teammates. And that's what this podcast is all about: a safe space, to have conversations that you want to have, need to have as we get older. And you know, even if our playing days are over, which they recently are for you, they've been a long time over for me, we can still have conversations that really move us and shake us and awaken us. And that's what this space is all about. So for the next, I'd call it half hour, I want to graciously thank you for being here in this space to just have a real conversation.
Cat Osterman 3:30
Oh, it's my pleasure, I think, you know, coming off of yesterday, which was national girls and women's and sports day, it's just one of those moments. And you know, we think as athletes, we think about it all the time. But yesterday obviously, it was highlighted so many teammates of mine, you know, people I have competed against, just talk about what sport teaches us and you know, you hit it on the head: while we learned a ton of stuff on the field in between the white lines on the court, whatever it is. Those in between moments, like on the bus, in the locker room, road trips, whatever it is, they give us just as much as that actually trying to, you know, perfect a skill or compete at a high level does.
Mandy DiMarzo 4:14
Absolutely. In one of your posts--and you guys, if you don't follow Kat, definitely, you need to follow her, because she is motivating and inspiring. But when one of your posts you wrote, thinking about how much love lived for the times between the white lines, and I, that moved me like no other. It's the moment, it's a moment on the field and also off the field. That you know, you can build a build a life and it's a love story. So you've recently retired. And I'm going to jump right into it because, I mean, I'm sure that carries a lot of mixed emotions. But what does it look like for a professional athlete to retire and an end of an era? What does that look like? How do you come, when do you know, it's time? Is it, is there a moment where you're like, you know what? It's time.
Cat Osterman 5:09
Yeah, that's a good question. I'm saying, I said I was going to retire three times and actually successfully retired. Well, I successfully retired once. But, you know, I think it's a little different as a female athlete, especially. So the first time I said I was going to retire, there wasn't really a real reason behind it, other than in my mind, I had turned 30, which now that I look at it, I'm like, that's not really old at all. But needed to, you know, basically figure out how can, how can I make a living. I was making a decent amount playing softball, but it's still not enough to live on and, you know, save with and things like that. But I ended up changing my mind, because as soon as I got to season that year, I just was having too much fun, too. I was like, You know what? I'm not ready to hang this up. And then 2015 came, and that's kind of when I started, basically, you know, you just realize there's more to life. Not that there wasn't more to life before that. But before that I was single. Before that, I was able to juggle the couple jobs I had to have in order to make ends meet and such. But at the same time, I just knew I needed to try to kind of have a life. I had met my now husband at the time, and, you know, it's never easy to be like, "Hey, I'm leaving and going to live somewhere else for three and a half months, let's hope you can come out and visit." And then not to mention, it's not like we go play in some of the most glorious places. We're playing in small town, Pennsylvania. And, you know, Orlando, I think, was one of the biggest cities we're playing in. And so, you know, just I retired then to kind of get on with life. And I was actually very happy in retirement, and then the Olympics came, and that was just an opportunity that had been taken away from us after 2008. And so, for me, I came out of retirement solely for the Olympics. COVID obviously pushed that back, allowed me to have two more years playing professionally, which I thoroughly enjoyed. So much so that people thought I was gonna keep playing. But to be honest, the last retirement was, was the easiest because, and I think Tom Brady said it best in his retirement posts the other day: it's when you don't--it's an all in thing--and when you don't wake up every day, wanting to put everything into the training, the taking care of your body, the nutrition, the everything that comes with being a professional athlete, you can't. You can't do it at a high level and not be all in. So the days that you wake up and going all in is either hard to do, or you're just not motivated to do it anymore. That's when it's time. And that was it for me, was the training has always been the fun part for me. I like pushing myself, but I wanted to do it on my own schedule now. And not because I have to get ready for a season but because it fits into my day, or not put my day and my life around having to train to be an athlete.
Mandy DiMarzo 8:14
I mean, you said it so well. And you really hit a lot of myths that people don't maybe misunderstand, or, you know, don't really understand about professional athletes or athletes at all. And it's not always the glorious moments of the games and the wins. And the championships. It's the training and when you fall out of love with the training, like you just said, that's 99% of it, right? Like, that's where all that dedication and time and heart is poured in. So when you're not all in, and it does start to feel like a job, that really makes a lot of sense. And you know, you got to be a type A to even get to a professional athlete status, you don't get they're going halfway into anything, all the training, all the lifting all the cross training, the nutrition, like you're saying, it's got to be so tuned up and tuned just right. And a lot of questions came out of what you just said. And one of it is, you know, a lot of people think, "oh, you're a professional athlete, that means all you do is train" And something that you really stand for is the no more side hustle" and how women need to get equal pay and equal opportunity. Like professional men in sports, and how a lot of people don't know this, I played soccer all through college. I was not at all a professional soccer player. But I remember when I read that the women I looked up to on the US national team had to have two or three jobs just to support their lives, and that blew my mind knowing that men at the same level, were making triple, quadruple the amount that these women were making And so what you just said, like I needed to make, you know, make a living. I think that would surprise a lot of people.
Cat Osterman 10:08
Yeah, I think, you know, you look at it, and you see female athletes, and I'm gonna use Megan Rapinoe as an example. Here she is, one of the most well known Women's National Team soccer players and they're pushing for equal pay, which is great, especially in their arena, because they outperform the men's national team. So if you're outperforming, why don't you get compensated appropriately, but she created a company recently called Mindy, which is a CBD product. But she created that because she probably has to, she has to find another way to have income. And then you look at Tom Brady who has his apparel, and I'm sure, I know he has his hands in a couple other things. He's doing that because he can. And so you look at female athletes, we have to find a way to go make extra money, a lot of us in the softball realm, a lot of us will coach college softball, because thankfully, the time that we get to play professionally is usually in the down spots of college softball, and it works out if you get a program that will work with you. But you know, we have to train, nutrition, recover, all while trying to still find a way to, you know, pay the bills to make ends meet. And a lot of times when you see a female athlete, we get paid for the month we play, and then that's it. So in softball, that's three months. So we still have nine months out of the year that we have to figure out how we're going to go and be able to not only afford to live, but afford to live and continue to train, and do the things that we need to do in order to train competitively. I think I was, when I was retiring, people kept saying, "oh, no, you know, keep going, Brady's 42 or 44." And I'm like, Brady also can spend $100,000 a year on recovery of his body alone, where I'm fortunate that I've made connections and you know, I was using your BURN classes while I was still training, at some points, whether it was core or a 45 minute, you know, kick my butt because we haven't done anything hard. And because I've made a connection with you, I'm not having to spend a fortune in order to train. But, you know, at the same time, there are some of my teammates who went ahead and splurged for an incredible home gym. Well, that's probably three, four months of our earnings right there just to be able to train to do that job again. And, you know, I think it's hard because we have to sometimes sacrifice. It's like, okay, do I sacrifice being able to take myself and spoil myself, or I really need another bumper plate. So am I going to spend a couple hundred dollars there? Because yeah, I mean, a couple hundred for a female athlete can be a lot.
Mandy DiMarzo 12:44
Absolutely. That's so interesting, that's going to blow people's mind. And it's like that reimagining that next chapter, you set it so well, but it's not, that's a freedom to have that luxury of saying, "where do I want to take it," versus "I need to take my life in one direction" to make ends meet and pay the bills and all the in between and, you know, the recovery, and all of that that takes for what you put your body through. That is, it's a lot of time, it's a lot of money. And this is why people like Megan Rapinoe, and you and all, like, a lot of your teammates posts about that. No more side hustle, and I believe in it, and something that we should definitely pour our hearts and our actions behind. You know, you spoke about sacrifice, and sacrifices, and you've never, you've had to make sacrifices your whole life. One of the posts you wrote to your dear "11 year old me", and I love this post. If you guys, if you could go back, she posted it, tt's November 10, 2021. And it's this love letter that basically, you know, I'm just gonna summarize by saying, if you knew then what you know now and all the decisions and sacrifices you had to make them in order to be where you are now. And it's things like, you know, quitting, quitting soccer, deciding, you know, all the naysayers that say that you were going to sit the bench, missing parties, missing sleepovers, and those kinds of sacrifices. That just resonated with me, Cat, because I remember early on, I had to quit all other sports in order to focus my love toward soccer, you know, and that was, and one of them was softball, but I was horrendous at it. And it was a lot of like, you know, I felt misunderstood all junior high and high school. I was never around on weekends, I was always traveling two to three hours for different club teams. I was on the Olympic training programs, much like yourself, and it's that sacrifice that, you know, it all came together for you and you can look back. And what a beautiful post. Did you ever, early on, when you were questioning it, is there a pivotal person or moment where you almost went in a different direction, and somebody said something to you, that made you hold on to your dreams and continue to go towards them?
Cat Osterman 15:15
You know, I think there's not a, I mean, I chose. So I played softball, probably it was either first grade or kindergarten. And first or will have to be first grade. So first through fifth graders, we're all on the same team, which when you talk about a fifth grader pitching at a first grader, that's not fun. So ended up quitting. Ended up being a really good goalie in soccer, probably, you know, long arm, long legs, you take up the net, but I liked to be out running around. So you know, my coaches would always do the whole like, play the first half on goal, we'll let you play, you know, midfield or defender, something else second half, and then it'd be like a 1-0 game or 2-0 game. And they'd be like, it's too close to the game, we really need you to stay in goal and so I do it. And just like anything, I was all in, I took individual private goalie lessons before or after practice. I was going to be good at what I was doing. And then in fifth grade, I guess this would be the pivotal moment you're talking about is, we had to write a paper on our gift, like, what was basically your talent or your passion, or what kind of gift had you been given that was going to impact your life. And I came home and I was like, I don't have a gift. And my mom's like, well, you're a really good soccer goalie. And I took the word gift, literally. And I was like, when you're giving gifts, you like them; I don't like that. Because I wasn't in love with being a goalie anymore. At that same time, my dad had let me start play softball again. Because I was talking about, you know, I wanted to find something else to do. And when I played softball for the second time, you know, conveniently, I was able to get in the circle and try to pitch because, little league rules, and our pitchers had used up all their innings. And so when that happened, I fell in love with pitching the second I had the ball in my hand and I had never even practiced it. I just got up there and tried to do it. And I don't know how pretty it was. Thankfully, that was a long time ago. So we would have had like the handheld VHS massive camera recorders. But I just remember coming off the field telling my dad, I want to do that. Like I love doing that. And so after my first pitching lesson, thankfully, I must have had time to write this essay for fifth grade. Because, yeah, then I came home telling my mom, I found my gift, I found my gift. Because I just truly enjoyed pitching so much, even at the beginning stages.
Mandy DiMarzo 17:45
That's so good. And I think it matters. I mean, fifth grade is around 10 years old. And, you know, there's parents on this call right now. There's all people of all different influences on young kids, that, you know, those words matter. I mean, it's seeing a kid and seeing what they, what brings them joy, and just really fanning those flames. Um, and I think that, you know, that that's a beautiful thing. Um, we talk about mental health in here, in this safe space, and body image. And, you know, those are two really heavy, strong conversations, but you know, body image wise, Cat, how tall are you?
Cat Osterman 18:30
Mandy DiMarzo 18:31
And so, um, we had a great conversation early on with these young women professional athletes, they were 6'1", 6'3" and they talked about owning their body early on in middle school, in high school and realizing their body was a weapon--and it was a weapon--to do what they love doing and in that pursuit of their athletic, you know, goals. And I thought that was a beautiful thing. I, we all have our journeys of body image, especially with women. With you, you've been in the spotlight for decades, and you know, at 6'2", have you ever struggled with your body image? Has that been something that you feel comfortable talking about?
Cat Osterman 19:18
Yeah, to be honest, I haven't, I've never, I don't shy away from it, but I've just never really talked about it. I struggled with it, not to the extent that it changed my eating habits or anything. I love food. So some of my body image issues come with the fact that I just have zero willpower when it comes to food. And I know that but you know, growing up I was very skinny. I was a late bloomer, so I was very thin for a really long time. My height didn't so much distract me or be something that I was subconscious of, or whatever. I wasn't afraid of my height because I play basketball too. And basketball was my first love. So I knew height was gonna make me good at that. And then in turn, it also was an advantage with pitching. But when I got to college, and I started adding on muscle, and then, you know, you hit a certain point, metabolism slows down just enough and I actually start gaining weight, where my freshman year, they're trying to pile on weight, because they're like, "you're too skinny." We want, you know, and I'm like, good thing, I didn't like peanut butter back then, because they were just trying to make me eat peanut butter. But then you actually start gaining weight, and it's like, wait, now I'm not, I'm not--in my mind--skinny like I was before. And, again, when you get complimented for things, that sticks in your head, that that's how you always have to stay. And, you know, you look at professional pictures of, and none of them were intentional, but like just different points of being in shape, you know, my body's different sizes. And even now, the older I get. It's hard to look back at pictures, and look at pictures now and be like, and feel I'm happy with what I look like because I am, especially my lower half. It's bigger, but it's also part of getting older and hormones. And sometimes that's so hard to accept, because you want to just believe that, "you know what I can go work out for"--I don't really go work out for two hours a day, but if I did--"oh, I could do that for X amount of days, and I would be smaller again." Well, I may not be because that just might not be my bone structure and the way that my body's gonna react. And it's hard because you know, especially nowadays with social media, I have to remind myself half the time, I'm looking at teammates, but my teammates are almost 15 years younger than I am. And when I was their age, yes, that's what I looked like, but that it's okay now, for me to look different and feel different, as long as I can still function and I can still do what I want to do. At a high level. I mean, you know, obviously, if I can't get through one of your classes, then I have some issues. But if I can actually make it through, I might be huffing and puffing, but then I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. And it's not about what my body looks like, because really to be honest, at the end of the day, if I'm happy. And my husband will tell you, I look good in anything, I can be wearing sweatpants. He's going to be happy with who I am as a person versus what I look like, then I should be able to go to sleep at night. So I'm not going to say there's nothing I've struggled as I gained weight finally, and I was no longer, you know, the skinniest or whatever. There are times where you think "what's wrong with me," and you have to realize it's just part of us growing up: we all develop differently. And some people develop early and some people develop later. And to be honest, I think the ones that develop later, probably struggle with it a little more just because, all of a sudden, it's happening and you thought, oh here, everyone else is starting to develop and filling out and get their curves. And then all of a sudden you do it two or three years later, and now you're not quote-unquote skinny anymore, or whatever it is.
Mandy DiMarzo 22:59
That's so--Cat, I mean, I honestly love that you are a role model for so many young women, because that message what you just said, that turning inward and security in yourself and your body and all that it does and not comparing. You know, comparison is the thief to joy. And for some of us, it's taken a lot longer. And we've lost a lot of years realizing that, you know, doing that kind of comparison to teammates that are 10 years younger, 14 years younger than us serves you no purpose, and how--I'm just like, I'm just having a little fist pumping moment right now--that you are a voice that so many young women can listen to, and look up to, and aspire to having that message which they need to hear. You know, because that outside influence. We spoke last week about body image and a lot of the women that were calling in were saying it's tricky, because when they got to their skinniest and they're unhealthiest, that's when they got the most compliments, but they realize "I'm not being healthy, I'm not honoring my body, I'm not doing the things." And it takes not caring about those outside voices to be, you know, to be so sensitive to those, but really letting them, the water off your back. And knowing you know what, I've honored my body. I've treated it well. I've nourished it and I've nurtured it. And you know that's an honest conversation that only you can have with yourself, no matter what it looks like on the outside. So your husband is a smart man and he's a lucky man and I love that he champions his wife the way he does and I feel grateful that you do the BURN workouts, because it just validates all I'm trying to do. But it's also, you know, speaking to this athlete who's been so accomplished her whole life. But that message, what you just said. Man, I mean, I mean I'm just like, I love it. I want to bottle it up, and I want young women to hear it because that's something that we need to infuse those younger generation to really stand firm. And 6'2" or 5'1" or whatever that number is doesn't matter. It's what's going on on the inside. And, you know, to the to the point of--you've been, you know, in the Olympics. I just want to go back for a second. And then I want to open it up to questions, because it's just a really exciting opportunity for me to talk to an Olympic athlete. And I've been watching with COVID, the COVID pause, and as you said, you know, gave you two extra years to train, but add on a mental health. You know, in that vein of the conversation here, you are training for this moment, and then it gets put on pause. What does that do to you mentally, when there's so much of your training that's leading up to this crescendo athletic moment? And then it's like, take a beat? What? How did you handle that?
Cat Osterman 26:04
Yeah, um. You know, I think initially, I handled it okay, because I could sense that the pause was coming. Obviously. Well, we got sent home from tour the same day that the NBA had, you know, essentially said that they were ceasing season for the time being. And so when that happened, and then I don't remember which big--there was a big event happening in Austin that had decided they were going to shut down and another big probably tech convention or something in California, that that. And I noticed, and I was like, alright, this is gonna, you know, as soon as the NBA did their decision, I was like this is, everything's gonna shut down for a bit. And I knew already. I think Italy had shut down as a country. And so I was like, the Olympics can't. If you know, the Olympic spirit, you just knew there was no way this was going to go on on time. Because with everything starting to shut down, now you had at least probably two thirds of the events that didn't even have, hadn't even had their qualifiers yet. So your time swimming and track who have to, you know, peak and taper at the right times in order to be good. So now their events are discontinued. We have countries who straight up can't train. So I knew I was like, this is going to get postponed. How long we weren't sure. You know, we were praying it wasn't six months, because that would be complete opposite normal timetable for us. But when it initially got down it was like, alright, we know it's postponed, then they came out about three, four weeks later, so it was a year. Alright, cool. We have a timetable. When you look at an extra year, though, it there were days that I looked at it, and I thought I was looking up Mount Everest. I truly thought that this is, you know, I was already, I already thought it was almost at the peak. And now I have a whole nother year to get to the peak. And as an older athlete, it was hard. There were days that I woke up, and I looked at my husband and I was like, I don't know that I can do it. You know, we still have nine more months at this point. And he's, you know. Thankfully, I have a great support system in him, my parents, my brothers, who have been my biggest fans since the day they understood what I was doing. But I'm fortunate in that because everyone will come and push, and be like, "no, you can" or like, "hey, how about you go do this today, instead of your training." Like figure out something to put there, so you just take a little bit of a break. But you get into it. And mentally it's like Groundhog Day, it was Groundhog Day for almost 365 days. And that monotony, as much as I tell people in sport, like yes, the mundane, the monotony, it gets to you but it's worth it. At that point, it's like, we needed something different and we weren't going to get it because COVID had changed how we had to train. How we had to get together as a team, all of that. You know, you talk of, we talked at the beginning of this, "in the locker room" or "on the bus" moment, we were two people in a van having to drive everywhere, because you know COVID. Like we can only be two people in a car, one in the front, one in the back, windows down. So the moments you get, even camaraderie were different to where, there were times, at training, was so wearing mentally and emotionally that we had we had to take days that were almost mental break days as opposed to physical break days. Just so maybe we could sit outside and have a conversation instead of, you know, be to a room or to to a car and only be able to talk to one person. But it was during that, you know, I also learned that I have been living probably with some some degree of anxiety for a long time. You know, there were just days that I wanted to, the second my phone beeped, I wanted to chuck it across the room, and that's not usually me. I'm really one that usually wants to answer everyone right away. And my husband was just like, "dude, what's wrong with you? You're like, way out." Ah, and, and I was like, I don't know. And thankfully I reached out and talked to someone. And of course when I told my mom that, "hey, I think I've been I've been living with some degree of anxiety." My mom was like, "oh, yeah, I could have told you that." No. But, but then it allowed me to also figure out what situations make me anxious? What situations do I react negatively, because I'm anxious. And from that, I've been able to grow. So you know, mental health, it's huge. We have to be in a good headspace to be able to work. And I'm not gonna say you're going to always be in the perfect headspace to want to go work hard all the time. But you have to be in some degree of pretty decent headspace in order to go all in the way you need to. And thankfully, I think as a team, we somewhat figured that out. As an individual, I figured that out. And that's kind of, again, when you talk about when you know, it's time to retire. Like, there's just no headspace in me, that even now people are like, "oh, do you still go throw?" And I'm like, why would I still go throw? There's no competition for me. They're like, but you've done it all your life. Doesn't it bring you a sense of peace? And like, it used to, but not any--there's no ounce of me that's in a headspace where I'm like, oh, yeah, let me go throw a bullpen just because. And so I think it allowed us to understand what headspace, what a good--I think sometimes, you don't understand what a good and a bad headspace is until you're forced to actually confront it head on.
Mandy DiMarzo 31:35
I mean, absolutely, I feel like that's such a brave declaration, talking about your anxiety. And when you control your mind, you know, as much as your--you know, the gym is letting the muscle pump, there's a mind pump going on too that, you got to flex that muscle as well and clear that space. And I'm sure as a veteran, you know, on the Olympic team, a lot of your teammates that were so much younger, were looking towards you to lead on, in a moment of time, that there was no roadmap, no manual whatsoever. And so, you know, that must have been that Mount Everest that you were looking at, that Groundhog's Day, every day. How to break that down and summit that. You know, embrace, and like you're saying, um, the dynamics of what a team looks like and needing to just take a step back. I think it's so important what you just said. I worked with a few teams during the height of COVID. And I remember walking away being like, am I just old? They were college teams, Am I old? Or are they just completely disconnected and there's no banter. There's no, like, you know, what I felt were the beautiful moments on practice field and on the team. And it's because they lost their way, just like you're saying. It was a mental struggle, and everyone had their own individual struggle. And these teams were struggling to have something bring them together. And I think that would be an episode in itself, that you just, really I'm just making a note, like, how teams redefine what that looked like during the height of COVID. And going forward, I think that's really important. But the way that you share and how you share is so honest and real, and it makes me feel like we've been teammates for a very long time even though, you know, we've known each other during the COVID space. I do want to open it up. There are a few people I know that are huge fans of yours, Cat, that follow you, that they may have more questions. I just want to leave with this one, and then I'm going to open it up to the room. But what's next, what do you, what are you looking forward to right now, one thing that's getting you excited to jump out of bed. You know, it's not going to the, you know, the cage pitch. But what what are you getting excited about for you right now?
Cat Osterman 34:07
I think what's next is just giving back to the sport that, you know, obviously gave me a life, a career for a bit. I coach my stepdaughters Little League team. I coach. I help coach Nate Turner travel team. And then more importantly, I work with a nonprofit, RBI Austin. And we just started a Player Development Academy where we're trying to give these girls a platform, or not a platform but a safe space to come train, to grow spiritually, to be able to do some strength and conditioning things that they, just in their community, they wouldn't have. And so that's been my passion project here since I got home, and we're about four months in.,and so far we're flying by the seat of our pants, but it's working.
Mandy DiMarzo 34:51
Well, I definitely am going to be coming down there, and I want to put them through some BURNs. So we got to figure that out. We can do that, can make it, when we can make that happen. Carolyn, this is a fantastic athlete who, at the height of the pandemic, she's a softball player, college softball player, she reached out and she brought BURN to her team and her college. And she is on the call right now. And I know she has a question for you, Carolyn, come on in.
Hey, thanks, Mandy and Cat. It's so great to just listen to you speak, especially about mental health. Like, that's a big thing we are pushing for at our school. And I'm actually going to have to hop off because I'm at work, but I just want to say, it was so great to talk and listen to you talk to Mandy, And I really did appreciate everything you said about the mental health.
Cat Osterman 35:41
Oh, thank you so much.
Mandy DiMarzo 35:43
That's awesome. Carolyn. Thanks. I know, she's like, "oh, God, I don't know if I can leave work." And you know what, this is important. But you know, that's the kind of stuff like we don't talk enough about. And so I know we'll get a lot of really positive feedback. Olivia, do you have a question for Cat? I'll pull you in now, girl.
I do. Hi, Cat. It's so nice to meet you, virtually, talk to you, hear your voice and all that jazz.
Cat Osterman 36:09
It's nice to meet you. I think you must have been my lifesaver, trying to figure out how to get on this thing.
It's all about the last minute legs, which can sometimes get you but I'm glad it worked out. Yeah, so you know, kind of echoing what Carolyn said, I really appreciate what you're saying about mental health. And I guess I just want to share a little something. I grew up playing softball, actually, was really into it, really loved it, played it, elementary school travel team, into middle school and into high school a little bit. And I ended up leaving softball and quitting softball, to switch to dance, but sort of focus more on dancing. But as I'm looking back on it, and hearing you talk about mental health, I'm realizing that a lot of the reason why I left softball was because of anxiety, in a way, that there was a mentality that I had, that if I dropped a ball, or struck out, or something. That idea of just letting down my teammates is something that I couldn't let go of. And letting down my dad, who also--he was my coach, and he worked with me so much. There was just this level of fear of disappointing people that I think ultimately prevented me from playing the game. And so I was just wondering, did you ever experience that sort of fear of failure or feel of disappointment? Like specifically playing softball, or in any other aspect in your life?
Cat Osterman 37:41
Yeah, I think when you talk about greatest fear, a lot of people will say failure. I will say disappointment is probably mine, because I never want to. I didn't want to disappoint my parents in high school once, and the weight of that was enough for me to not want to experience that again. I think I benefited, and this didn't have the necessary fear of failure in sport as much because I had a dad who made sure I knew everything was an opportunity to learn. So even when I had bad games, it wasn't. Thankfully, I didn't have too many of the car rides home where you're just getting blasted for not performing. It was more of "okay, this didn't work." Or, you know, "you you didn't throw this pitch well today, why?" What were you? What was your body feeling? What were you looking at? What were you thinking, you know, we had conversations about growing--and don't get me wrong, there were times that he got upset that, you know, maybe in a crucial situation I didn't perform. But at the end of the day, I also never, again, benefited the fact that my parents never made me feel like my worth or their love was hinged on my performance. And as a coach, now, I try to remind these athletes that in order to balance the fear of failure, is--we play softball most the time, especially as hitters it's a game of failure, is what everyone wants to say. And I like to spin it to where it's a game of opportunity, you have so many opportunities to learn, to then be able to be successful, it doesn't mean you're going to be successful for every at-bat after that. But you take that success, now you have confidence, and hopefully, we get success a little bit more often. And so, have I struggled with it? Yes. I think a lot of times, it's about being able to turn things into learning, and then viewing it as opportunity versus pass/fail. I think we weigh too many things on life as pass/fail, and it's not, you know, losing a ballgame, in the grand scheme of life. No one's gonna remember when you're 12 and you didn't get the single that scored the winning run. No one holds on to that. And so, I think we have to remember the moments with athletes, but even ourselves, life is not pass/fail.
Mandy DiMarzo 39:57
Okay, amazing. I think, just like what you just said, it's not binary, and leaning into the struggle, and hearing an Olympic athlete, say it's not just about those bad games, because there's that, you know, when you are up against adversity, that is an opportunity. I love hearing that from you, and that reminder, and that, you know, whether you're telling that to your players, or to people on this call, in all parts of life, you know, living fear-based life, you're missing out and it, to let go of that. So, Olivia, awesome question. That just just made this more dimensional. But awesome question there.
Thank you. And thank you, Cat for answering. Super appreciate it. This has been an awesome call to be listening on.
Cat Osterman 40:43
You're very welcome. Great question.
Mandy DiMarzo 40:46
Before we close out, is there anything else that wants to ask Cat a question? Before we, you know, take in this time, and I just feel like, Cat, you infuse us with strong through this call. And I know a lot of people are gonna listen to this later that have a little more time. But there's so many things I relate to. You wrote, there was one other post that I just again fell in love with. And it was when you decided to retire. And again, I really push you guys. Cat Osterman is her handle name on Instagram. But you wrote a love letter to softball saying it was time. And it started by saying "Dear softball, you've had my heart for 28 years. It's not you, it's me." And there's humor, and there's emotion. And there's honesty and rawness. And you guys, take a look at this post and just these letters that you write to yourself, clearly, you are going to spend your life growing and evolving and you lean into that in a big way. And I admire that. And after this call, I want to write a few letters to myself. Because I think, you know, I've been journaling and that's going to be the way I structure my journals today, is just writing a letter to either my former self or my future self. So, what you model, I admire it, that you are a role model for all ages, and all walks of life. So, I just want to thank you, from woman to woman, from friend to friend, what you're doing, you're making this world a better place with your message. So I just want to thank you.
Cat Osterman 42:30
Thank you so much for having me, allowing me to share experiences. And, you know, I want to say, right back at you. With what you're doing, to motivate every type of human, not just to get active, but your posts are just as inspirational. So always great to be able to share those with people like you. And I'm very fortunate our paths have crossed and allowed us to now hopefully, you know, ripple effect. Both of us be able to together, influence and hopefully help people make some changes.
Mandy DiMarzo 43:02
Yeah, let's make some magic. That's definitely, 2022 is to make a little bit of an impact in an awesome way. So thank you. Appreciate you. Giving you a huge hug right now. And very grateful. You make this world better. Thanks Cat.