A small gesture by Meridian Community College assistant softball coach Londen Ladner left a big impression on Naomi Anderson.
During a visit to MCC’s campus, Anderson, who graduated from Meridian High School in May, was trying to decide whether or not she wanted to continue her softball career at the local junior college. Anderson didn’t have tennis shoes that day, so Ladner offered hers to the Lady Wildcats standout in order to allow her to complete her visit.
“She didn’t have to do that, to give something of herself,” Anderson said. “It made me feel closer to her, like I was family.”
That simple act of kindness went a long way in making Anderson comfortable with the decision.
Tuesday afternoon, she signed with MCC to play softball for the next two seasons.
“The team there is like a family,” Anderson said. “Everyone is nice and encouraging.”
It helps that MCC is also in the same county as her high school, which means Anderson’s family can come watch a game with little to no hassle.
“They can just show up because it’s right down the street,” Anderson said.
MHS softball coach Mark Davis said Anderson brought the right attitude to practices and games, and he has no doubt she’ll continue to do that at MCC.
“They’re getting a high-character kid and a great softball player with some pop,” Davis said. “She’s a really good defensive corner infielder, and she’s going to bring a lot of enthusiasm, energy and a great attitude.”
A good attitude is important, not just to keep your teammates’ spirits up, but to make sure your game doesn’t suffer as well, Anderson explained.
“When you have a bad attitude, you mess up,” Anderson said.
Now that she’s signed, Anderson said she’s eager to take the next step in her softball career, and she wants to show the coaches at MCC that she’s eager to learn and improve as a player.
“This is a dream that a lot of people have and aren’t able to pursue, so for me to be one of the few that can pursue it is great,” Anderson said.
Her mother, Erica Glover, said Tuesday was a special day for the whole family.
“It’s a dream come true,” Glover said. “She’s always wanted to play on the collegiate level, and I’m proud of her for being able to accomplish her dreams.”
Davis said if anyone is deserving of the opportunity, it’s Anderson.
“It means a lot to our program for these girls to get an opportunity to do this after high school just to see their hard work pay off,” Davis said. “Naomi is one of these kids that shows up every day to get better. She’s not a vocal leader, but she leads by example.”
Now that her daughter is taking the next step in her softball career, Glover said she hopes Anderson maintains that positive attitude that’s defined her as a player so far.
“Stay positive, and always trust in God with all your decisions — and make good decisions,” Glover advised her daughter.