Balancing act /Stormie Bush serves her teammates on the softball field and U.S. Army Reserve

Tabor College outfielder Stormie Bush is proud of both uniforms she wears during her time with the Bluejay softball program.
Tabor College outfielder Stormie Bush is proud of both uniforms she wears during her time with the Bluejay softball program.
Tabor College softball player Stormie Bush wears many hats.

The senior outfielder is in her second year at Tabor, working toward a degree in strength and conditioning. In addition to school and softball, Bush serves as an E4 Specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Having initially joined the Reserve in June 2014, Bush did not begin Basic Combat Training until last June. She completed BCT and Advanced Individual Training and returned to Tabor?s campus in Novem?ber, having missed nearly half of the Bluejays? off-season training.

?It killed me not to be with the team, especially as a senior,? Bush said. ?When I came back, I tried to get myself as involved with them as much as possible. I really felt like I had to work super hard to gain the underclassmen?s respect as an older person on the team.?

She took five credit hours last semester as a part-time student.

Balancing school, softball and the Army has its challenges, and sometimes means waking up in the early morning hours following a softball doubleheader to hit the road for Manhat?tan, where her unit is based.

One weekend each month, Bush attends training, including general training and specific job training as a paralegal specialist. In addition, this August she will participate in an annual two-week training period.

Bush, whose given name is Stormie, said her name was a favorite with the sergeants during training.

?I was at AIT and everyone else would be called by their last name, and the sergeants loved to call me Stormie,? she said. ?I was the only one that ever got called by my first name just because they loved it so much.?

Bush said she is asked frequently about her unique name.

?My dad has a degree in meteorology, and he always says his first love is the weather,? she said. ?They said ?93 was a very stormy year, and they said if it snowed on my birthday, they picked the right (name), and it snowed.?

Journey to Tabor

A 2012 graduate of Class 1A Marais des Cygnes Valley High School in Melvern, Bush did not play softball in high school?it wasn?t offered. Instead, she participated in volleyball, basketball and track.

Bush had played rec softball in her pre-high school years, but stopped to focus on basketball and volleyball.

Her initial intent was to be recruited for basketball, she said, but after breaking her foot playing basketball her junior year, she was led to consider other options.

?My dad had always said that I was built more as a softball player and I should really get back into it, so I tried to get onto a travel ball team,? she said. ?Originally, I just made it on their practice team, and then I worked my way up my senior year with them.?

Bush?s travel ball coach taught her to play in the outfield.

?He?s like, ?Well, the easiest position to teach you is outfield and you?re fast,? so it was an easier transition,? she said. ?I was good at diving for balls because I played volleyball, so it was kind of putting the sports together.?

Bush said the transition to softball was hard on her body.

?I was doing fall ball and volleyball at the same,? she said. ?I was having a lot of shoulder problems there at the very beginning. My form was all off because I hadn?t done any of that for so many years. I had arm problems adjusting back into it.?

That summer, Bush earned a spot as a starting outfielder for her travel ball team. She was recruited by Allen Community College in June.

After playing two years in the outfield at Allen, Bush transferred to Tabor for the 2014-15 season.

The Bluejays finished fourth in the KCAC last year with a 12-7 record and placed third in the conference tournament to conclude the season at 26-25 overall.

Bush batted .321 in 43 games. She tallied 36 hits, including eight doubles and two home runs.

?Last year, we had a lot of heart,? she said. ?Our seniors were great leaders. They would always push us. With the defense that we had, I thought we were really unstoppable.?

Bush?s favorite memory was sweeping Kansas Wes?leyan for the first time in program history. She recalls hitting a home run in Game 1. Then, in Game 2, she hit a single to load the bases in advance of Araselly Vargas? grand slam that lifted Tabor to a 5-4 victory.

Looking to the future

Bush missed the first five games of her senior season with a pulled hamstring.

?I?m working my butt off to get back and then I get injured, and I was like, ?I can?t even prove myself to these girls that don?t even know me,?? she said. ?That was frustrating.?

By now, Bush said she is feeling more settled.

Tabor is 11-23 so far this season. With more of a pitching staff this year, in addition to a strong lineup, Bush said good things are in store for the Bluejays.

?This year I think we have a lot of potential,? she said. ?We?re young, but I see no reason why?especially when everyone gets healthy?we can?t take the KCAC title. Our bats are so strong. I could look at our whole lineup, and I can know that everyone on there can get a hit.?

Bush plans to graduate this fall, and said she would like to pursue a master?s degree in business at Tabor. Ultimately, she would like to own a gym, coach collegiate softball or work as a strength and conditioning coach for a softball team.

Being in the Reserve has helped her step into a leadership role on the softball team.

?In basic I was a squad leader, and I feel like that?s really helped leadership on the team,? she said. ?When things are going down, I?ll actually know what to say. I?ve never really been one to talk in huddles, but now I?ll talk when we have problems.?

This month?s schedule will be a challenge, she said, with range drill scheduled the same weekend as Tabor?s doubleheader at McPherson.

Bush will miss the non-conference games with Bacone that Friday, but will come back for Saturday?s doubleheader.

?I?m literally going to wake up at Fort Riley on Saturday morning, drive down to McPherson, play two games and then drive all the way back,? she said. ?I like to think that since I?ll be shooting, my eyes will be really set for the game.?