All American. Professional Softball Player. Content Creator.
Sam Fischer is just flat-out funny. When you listen to her podcast The Unknown Pro, you get the sense that you are talking with someone who is really confident in herself. She is currently preparing for her next season with Athletes Unlimited. In getting to know her, you see right away her carefree attitude. And that carefree spirit is really inspiring.
Sam Fischer has a simple philosophy. Show up humble. Play the game loud. Her softball career has grown from Loyola Marymount University (LMU), a small softball college, to professional softball leagues on two continents. We designed some cleats and apparel to tell her story.
It’s great getting to work with professional athletes who are accomplished and humble. Sam is gracious with her time and the lessons she has learned. And when presented with the opportunity to make a collection for The Next Season, she chose designs that speak to who she is as a person.
Tell us about Sam Fischer?
I was born and raised in Simi Valley California, which is in southern California. I loved my home town. I loved growing up there. I have been playing softball ever since I can remember, so essentially the story of my life is the story of softball. I went to Loyola Marymount University for college and played there for four years. And that was an amazing experience. I loved where I went to school. I wish that I could have stayed longer than 4 years.
I’m 30 now. So, I’ve been playing softball out of college for a while. I’ve been able to travel the world. I’ve been able to go to different places playing ball with Team USA, playing professionally, and playing in the Japanese Pro League.
What position do you play?
My whole life I was a shortstop. I love shortstop. It’s my heart and soul. I can play anywhere in the infield. But this year, I sat down with myself and had a conversation with myself about where I should really focus and I think going forward, I’m just going to focus on being a first baseman. That way I don’t spread myself too thin. I love being able to play anywhere in the infield. But I really like being able to focus on one thing. I am excited to put my focus there. You know you grow up thinking first base just catches the ball from the infielders. It gets so overlooked. There is such a skill that goes into playing first base and such a focus. I am really excited to channel all of my energy into playing the best first base I can.
What are some of your favorite things to do off the field?
I love reading. I’m a big book nerd. I’m the type of person that has all of these books to read that I haven’t read yet, but will still go out and buy more books to just add to that pile. I love reading. Off the field, I’m a very low-key person. On the field, I’m super extroverted. I’m always hyper and awake. Off the field, I love taking naps. I love just taking chill days. I love being outside. Whether that’s hanging out with friends at the pool or taking hikes. I’m a very mellow person off the field.
What’s it like being a professional Softball player?
That answer has changed over the years. There have been so many different looks for me. I got a chance to play in the Japanese League and essentially they pay you the most money. So playing in Japan allowed me to focus strictly on playing. The years before that, not making nearly the amount of money, I had a coaching job at a Division III school near my house. I was doing lessons. I was doing camps. There’s a lot of things that go into being a professional softball player because of having to train and also having bills to pay. I think that’s pretty similar across the board. You’ll see a lot of people doing lessons. You’ll see a lot of people coaching.
Lately, I’ve been able to strictly focus on training. So I’ll wake up in the morning. Make myself breakfast. We’ve been able to have a home gym. My husband and I were fortunate enough to get all of the equipment that we need. So I am able to pop into the gym and get a workout in. And then do something offensively or defensively.
In season, your focus is very similar to college or in high school. Your focus is to go out there and perform and do what your body needs to perform. I’ve been learning a lot about what my body needs as it gets older. Sometimes it needs to rest a little bit because it’s a bit older.
Favorite Memory from Softball?
My senior year. My very last home game at LMU. We were playing against our rivals. I knew it was going to be the last game playing at our home field. I hit a walk-off grand slam in my last at-bat ever at that field. It was so storybook. That moment is really hard to beat. Even though I’ve had some amazing experiences and amazing memories, it’s just really hard to beat that one.
What’s your favorite part about softball?
I honestly love everything about the sport. It’s so challenging. It’s so difficult. People ask me I like hitting more or defense more. And I don’t know. I have no idea. I just think that everything about the sport is so incredible. I don’t know if you can tell, but I really like softball. Even base running. I just love all parts of the sport. But if I’m going to pick something, hitting a home run is pretty nice.
What are some challenges in Pro Softball? How would you fix them?
There are challenges we face constantly just because we are female athletes. You’re looked at as not as serious, not as intense, or not as competitive because you are a female. And, I tell you I have met some of the most hardworking, intense, competitive, unbelievably talented women who are just athletes. Just the mindset of everybody out there who are sports fans, being sports fans and not just male sports fans. You watch what these women can do in sports across the board and it’s incredible. It’s unbelievable. And we’ve made so many sacrifices to get to this point. Just like our male counterparts. So I think that’s the biggest challenge.
We are in a really good place right now in growing the sport. It’s such a critical point of growth right now in the sport. Growing the sport with people who are traditionally softball fans. Getting softball in front of more people is the goal.
What advice would you give the next generation of softball players?
Stay true to yourself. Do the things that make them the most them. In my career, there were times I would see another shortstop that was incredible and think I needed to play like her. In reality, she needed to play her and I just needed to play like me. She’s got playing like her already taken care of. And I think this can be a really big challenge, especially now in the age of social media. In reality, you can only do what you can do. I think it’s really helpful to look in the mirror and realize that no one can really do what I can do. I gotta be able to go out there and do it the best way that I can.
The other thing that I think is really important is believing in yourself Truly believing in yourself. There will be times when people don’t believe in you. There will be times that teammates, coaches, or fans are not going to want you to be in the box when a certain situation comes up. But if you believe in yourself, if you are the one that wants you in the box, that’s what matters the most. That you have that belief in yourself to go and do it. Constantly work for that. Work hard and prove it to yourself. There is no one else you need to prove it too. Put yourself in a situation where the coach has no choice but to put you in the lineup or recruit you because you working your tush off, performing, and going out there with confidence.
What was the moment you decided on your collection?
I was sitting in my home office, my fake home office, and I was looking at the designs that Colleen had made. When I saw “Be Humble, Play Loud,” I knew this was it. My first ever pair of RIngor were Fire Truck Red. Incorporating that was really meaningful. I remember when my dad brought them home. They were a little embarrassing since they didn’t match anything. My high school colors at the time were maroon and gold. And then I had fire truck red high-top Ringors. And I loved them. So I had to have the red in the cleats and in the shirts.
Where did Be Humble, Play Loud come from?
My whole upbringing was always been to do what you say you’re going to do. Do it because you want to do it, not because you want to show everybody else. Especially since social media started coming about, do something because you want to do it and not because you want other people to see you do it. My dad would tell me all the time like when I hit a home run or something, act like you’ve done it before. Celebrating is great and we should do that. But go out there, do your job, and if you do great, act like you’ve done it before. If you do bad, do better next time. The game should be louder than what you talk about.
Has it gotten harder to Be Humble, Play Loud as you gained more and more success?
There’s a little piece of being grateful for the opportunity that comes with each opportunity to play. There’s a chance it all goes away if I get a big head. I got where I am because of the things that I did. I don’t want to change that now. I don’t want to start thinking I’m big time because I’ve done this or done that. I got here because of x,y, and z and I’m going to continue doing x, y, and z to maintain it.
Do you feel a need to be less humble on Social media and louder?
I have tried very hard to keep my social media genuinely myself. I like to make jokes, I like to poke fun at myself or my husband. There is so much about social media that can be great and I like to use it in the areas of people knowing me as me, and what I represent and stand for. I want people to see the good, the bad, the ugly, and captions of me doing something stupid because who doesn’t embarrass themselves sometimes. Sometimes there is the challenge that I want people to see the glamour that this life can be but a lot of times you’re lying. I want to be authentic and real. I want to show myself as me and not me as somebody else because there are a lot of different types of people in our sport. And I am just this very specific type of person. If I try to be more like someone else who is more into you know, like selfies and be really glamorous, I can’t do that.
You mentioned you were different than some of the other Pro Athletes. What does being different mean to you?
I don’t like to stay out late. I don’t go to parties. I like to read books. I’m not the Kardashians. I don’t do stuff like that. I don’t have an interest in doing things like that. Always looking done up. Always have the right clothes. Even in softball, having the perfect hits. That’s not attainable. I fall down on the field. I strikeout. Being different is just associated with being authentic and doing what’s true to me.
What does playing loud mean?
Just let your game speak for itself. Going behind the scenes and doing the work. Make the big plays because that’s what you have prepared for. Being humble in the idea that I can do my job. Go out and play like the best without having to talk about it. I want to be the one in the box for my team to come through and make the big play or have the big hit. I want my teammates to want me in the box too because they believe in me. Not because I told them to but because they know see that I put in the work.
Why fire truck red?
It’s loud. The color stands out without you having to say ‘look at my red shirt.’ It’s bright. It’s vibrant. And I want to live like that. I know it’s just a color but it says so much without saying anything. I fell in love with softball long before high school. Being able to express me without using words or not in a conversation, the color red represents that a lot. And I still see my dad in these red cleats. He’s been a huge part of my journey. He had a fire truck red truck when we were growing up so I just relate a lot of the meaning of this color to him.
What are the straight line and the squiggly line about?
It represents the ups and downs of life and playing softball. There are ups and downs and lefts and rights, but that would have been hard to draw. Taylor and I were talking about this earlier. Am I going to play next year? Am I going to have a shot? It’s a lot. It’s stressful. You know that that this is what you want to do, but there are little bitty opportunities. It’s just the career. Success and failures. At the end of the day, it smoothes out but you have to go through the ups and downs.
It’s challenging to prepare for a season if you don’t know for sure there will be an opportunity. You ask yourself if you work your ass off for 6 months without anything to show for it. Your work out in the offseason with the hope of having another season. It’s challenging but exciting.