Mikayla Rubin ‘21 is an infielder for the Fairfield University softball team, and is only one of four seniors on the roster. Joined by two graduate students, the group of six makes up the team’s upperclassmen leadership, who are vital in increasing morale on the team during this pandemic.
Thankfully, the team had organized team Zoom nights over the summer to welcome the newcomers into the program and to ensure that they feel every bit as part of the team as the returners do. Rubin mentioned that their coaching staff was sure to integrate upperclassmen and lower classmen into groups while splitting up into smaller training units, making sure that a healthy rapport was created between teammates.
“We always make sure that our underclassmen know that we are always available to help them out with whatever they need from the moment they get on campus,” said Rubin, supportively.
Hailing from Chino Hills, Calif., Rubin has been making waves in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference since her rookie season, earning spots on both the All-MAAC second team and the MAAC All-Rookie team, per the Fairfield Athletics website. During her sophomore season, the athlete donned All-MAAC second team honors; but, unfortunately her junior season was cut short less than halfway through due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Nonetheless, in the 15 games she did play, she tallied four runs and added a homerun to her career total of four.
The infielder has dreamt of playing collegiate softball since she was six years old, aspiring to one day be in the position of the athletes she saw playing on television in the College World Series.
“I wanted to be just like them,” Rubin said.
With athletics suspended once more, Rubin, along with most other Division I athletes at the University are facing challenges associated with keeping in peak shape for when they resume competition. Her fortitude has pushed her to keep going, managing to work through the restrictions.
She hasn’t let the pause get in the way of her athletic development, and with the help of the training staff, she has been able to keep working.
“During the suspension of athletics, I have been doing mostly body weight workouts, as well as conditioning and running,” Rubin explained. “Our trainers have been able to create workouts for us based on the limited access to equipment and weights.”
Rubin noted that softball is a sport that often requires not only equipment to practice, but also another person to practice with, which is exceptionally hard during a time of social distancing.
“This can make it challenging if you don’t live with teammates,” said Rubin, but luckily, she does. She reflected that living with roommates, “has made it much easier to do limited practice and workouts as well as stay motivated to keep working hard.”
As a film, television and media major, Rubin’s skills are versatile, and although professional softball may not be a goal she wishes to pursue in the near future, the impact that Fairfield softball has made on her life is unforgettable.
“Fairfield softball has helped me grow into the person I am today… I’ve been able to travel and play in places I never imagined [would be possible],” she stated. “I’m not sure if softball will always be in my life, but I know all the friends I’ve made will be.”
Although the future is so uncertain, the fact that MAAC basketball games are slated to continue acts as a beacon of hope for all spring athletes, particularly softball players.
“Our entire athletic department has made it their goal to get everyone to play in the spring. With the coming MAAC basketball season about to begin, I think it will be a good start for all of athletics to get back to playing,” she said.
Rubin is optimistic that she will return to the field during the second semester, saying that she remains very hopeful she and her fellow seniors will be able to participate in their last season as Stags. Either way, she feels fulfilled by her experience as a collegiate athlete.
“Softball has given me so many gifts and opportunities, and I am excited to see what comes next for my team,” said Rubin.
The 2021 MAAC Championship is scheduled for May 14 and 15, indicating that the season is expected to go on as normal.