The Energy Bug

By Zoe Adebayo

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I am the team hype man. 

It’s pretty much official at this point. 

I can’t help it. 

I just love to have a good time. 

And if I can energize my teammates, then I’m all in. 

I’m always looking for a way to bring a smile to their faces. 

It’s just who I am. 

I’m a bit of an energy bug.

I can’t sit still.

When I was a kid, my dad would always be like, “Zoe, why don’t you take a nap in between games?” Why nap when you can sprint around the park instead?

I try to spark excitement at each practice, game and huddle. I’m pretty outgoing, so I don’t mind being the person to hype everyone up or crack a joke to keep everyone relaxed.

Life’s too short to sit around and do nothing. 

At least that’s how I look at it. 

And I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to bring that energy to this team.

My role as a leader

My teammates mean the world to me. 

They are kind, funny and devoted to our goals.

I love hyping them up as the energy bug, but I’ve also stepped into a leadership role to help them.

I’m honored to be a leader because it gives me a chance to give back to the program that gave me so many friends and memories.

It hasn’t always been easy.

I’ve learned how to be a more vocal leader and hold my teammates accountable.

Sure, I like to be a goofball from time to time, but I know I have a responsibility to be a role model for the younger girls, in particular, too.

And I take that responsibility to heart.

I want them to feel comfortable hanging outside of practice and reaching out if they need advice. I hope the trust we share in real life translates on the field. 

I want them to know that I will always have their back. 

No matter what.

I try to spark excitement at each practice, game and huddle. I’m pretty outgoing, so I don’t mind being the person to hype everyone up or crack a joke to keep everyone relaxed. Life’s too short to sit around and do nothing. At least that’s how I look at it. And I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to bring that energy to this team.

My start in softball

I’ve been playing softball for as long as I can remember.

When I tried out for my first rec team, they told us to hit the ball off a tee and run to first base.

I didn’t know where first base was, so I just ran to the pitcher’s mound.

My dad was like, “Zoe, what are you doing?”

He was so confused.

I was too, to be honest.

But I figured it out after that. 

Softball connected me to my dad. We spent many afternoons playing with the t-ball set in our front yard. And my dad was my most patient fan.

After my initial base-running confusion, I quickly fell in love with softball.

As I got older, I started to play travel ball. 

That’s when I really started to take things to the next level. 

I played with some of the best players in the state, and I got a lot better.

Fast. 

I attracted some attention from college coaches. 

I went to a few camps, but Memphis always stood out to me. 

I’ve always felt a strong connection to this place. 

My dad played basketball here for a year, so I’ve always been a bit of a Memphis fan. But when I actually visited the campus and met the coaches, I just had this feeling deep down that this was the place for me. 

The coaches were amazing. 

The city was amazing. 

And the food was amazing.

I mean, I’m from Arkansas, so we have some good food back home. 

But Memphis is in a league of its own. 

The barbecue here is out of this world. 

There’s this place called “One and Only” that’s my absolute favorite. 

I always get the sausage and cheddar platter, a barbecue quesadilla with pork, a side of sweet potato fries, and a large sweet tea.

It’s the best meal you’ll ever have. 

I promise.

But it’s not just the food. 

There’s just something about Memphis that feels so right to me. 

It’s hard to explain. 

But I’ve always felt at home here.

My team

My time here at Memphis has definitely been a roller coaster.

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs.

Adjusting to college life was a bit overwhelming at times.

I mean, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off my freshman year trying to figure everything out.

But through it all, I’ve been able to grow so much. One of the things I’m most proud of is my growth as a leader.

I feel so much more confident in my abilities now.

I’m  proud of how far I’ve come, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

One of the things I love most about this team is the selflessness.

We’re all playing for something bigger than ourselves.

When we put on that Memphis jersey, we’re playing for our families, our teammates, our coaches, and all the little girls who look up to us.

It’s such a powerful bond.

That’s what makes this team so special.

If the energy bug in me can play a small role in energizing the team, I’m grateful for that gift.

I love this team with all my heart.

And I’ll do whatever it takes to help us succeed.