Making A Difference

April 5, 2001

Tomboys play sports. Playing sports - at least softball anyway - means knowing how to throw, catch and hit a ball, so it is only appropriate that Kim DePaul, third baseman for the University of Washington softball team, is from Tomball, Texas.

DePaul, a senior and two-year co-captain, has been playing softball since she was five. 'My older brothers, Mark and Tommy, always played baseball and I grew up watching them. It was just something natural to do,' DePaul said.

Being calm and collected on the field has also come naturally for DePaul. A pitcher from ages 11-13, DePaul still follows the same advice her mother, Lynn, has always given her.

'My mom always tells me, `Just see the ball,'' DePaul said. 'When I am at third base playing defense, I always think of that and am always aware of who is on base.'

Although Lynn has always been her most faithful fan, taking her to practices and hardly ever missing one of her games, leaving Tomball to play for the Huskies was not a hard choice.

'I wanted to play for a competitive team in college and the Pac-10 is the most competitive conference there is,' DePaul said. 'I liked the new facilities in Seattle and knew I would be getting a good education. It was just an all-around good opportunity.'

DePaul's fine play on the field has allowed her to start in all 243 games since joining the Washington softball team in 1998. During the 2000 season, DePaul set school records for most walks in a season with 56 and most hit by pitches with 19. She has also received Pac-10 individual honors in each of her first three seasons at the UW.

'The Husky program has great tradition and it is our responsibility to keep that tradition alive,' DePaul says. 'This program demands excellence, hard work and commitment.'

DePaul is looking forward to playing Arizona the most in her last season with the Huskies.

'There is an old rivalry there and they are a tough team to beat,' DePaul said. 'It feels like we have really accomplished something when we beat them.'

DePaul's personal goals for the 2001 season are to keep playing consistently and fulfill her role as a team captain.

'It is my job to communicate with my teammates and tell them what is expected day in and day out,' DePaul says. 'We will keep getting better every day and learn from our past games. This is a game I have been playing for so long, I just really want to enjoy these last couple months as a college athlete.'

When the 2001 season comes to a close and she taken her last ground ball, DePaul will miss her teammates and the electric atmosphere of the band and crowds at Husky Softball Stadium. She will also have some thank you's to say to all those how have helped her along the way.

'I'll thank my mom for always supporting me. I wish she could have seen me play more in college.

'I also have to thank the fans for their faithfulness to our team, especially the ones who supported my addiction to chocolate,' DePaul said with a smile.

Although her career as a Husky will end this season, there may still be more softball in her future. DePaul was a second-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay FireStix in the 2000 Women's Pro Softball League Senior Draft. The league, however, recently folded, but hopes to resume play in 2002.

'If they would draft me again, I would definitely play for them,' DePaul said. 'But after this season, it will be time to move on and start a new life.'

Part of moving on for DePaul will mean returning to Tomball, Texas, where a town motto is, 'It's the people who live here who make the real difference'-- a motto she took to heart and brought with her all the way to Seattle.

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