Sammi Parks played softball for Belmont from 2005-2009. During her career at Belmont, she appeared in 129 games on the mound with 31 wins, 50 complete games, and 464 strikeouts. Her 44 appearances in 2008 ranks first all-time in BU history and her 221 innings pitched that season ranks second all time. She continued her playing career after college, playing professionally in Europe and New Zealand. Sammi recently spoke with Belmont Athletics about her time at Belmont and her present life in Auckland, New Zealand.
Why did you choose Belmont?
I chose Belmont for several reasons. First and foremost it was the quality of education, smaller class sizes, and the services provided by the Athletic Department to ensure academic success. Secondly, all the people at Belmont are so lovely. Lastly, the city of Nashville is the perfect balance of city, country, and college town.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
I can’t remember one specific occasion, but there are so many small moments with teammates that really reflect the bond we had.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
Coach Amy Tudor had a big impact on the person I am today. She was always very considerate of me and my teammates. I can remember one instance the entire team left an hour late for an away series because one of the girls needed help with a project and couldn’t arrange another time. She was also supportive of me when I had some personal struggles to deal with. It has stuck with me as a reminder that some things are bigger than sports.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
I found my four years at Belmont a comfortable transition into a working adult. My first semester freshman year was a bit of a struggle as it was far from the routine I had living with my family. The demands of being a student-athlete combined with the freedom of living independently helped to ease into a fully functioning, working adult.
What advice would you give to current members of the softball team?
Give everything you have to the moment you are in. As a student athlete you are constantly sore and tired and would rather take a nap than study or go for extra training, but there is always more. If you want to be a better softball player or student, you can be. There are so many resources available to you at Belmont that you won’t even realize are there until you leave. Use those resources to become a better student-athlete than you thought was possible.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Dr. Griffiths was my favorite professor and also my advisor. His classes were always very challenging but rewarding. I enjoyed him because he brought a peculiar quirkiness to the academic environment and he had the best sweater vests!
Where do you live now?
Auckland, New Zealand
What is your occupation?
I work for the Ministry of Justice in Auckland. I am a Court Registry Officer, aka Deputy Registrar, in which I undertake administrative tasks for the court in order to provide fair and efficient judicial process.
Tell us about your family.
My family at the moment is very small, it is just me and my boyfriend of four years. We met when I moved to New Zealand and have been going strong ever since. Of course I stay close with my family back in the States but have also adapted a new family here in New Zealand. I have many close friends here in Auckland that I would say have adopted me.