LSU TIGER - KELSEE SELMAN

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

 

I was raised in church and saved at a very young age. It may sound crazy, but God has used the game of softball to make me stronger as a person and as a Christian. To really give my testimony, I have to give you some background information about my softball career. I totally fell in love with the game of softball when I was about 8 years old, but there was just one little problem, I really wasn’t very good at it. I finally made a local “select team” but I spent a lot of time sitting the bench. I practiced and practiced and prayed and prayed. I really wanted to be good enough to just contribute to my team. Finally, I earned a position in the outfield and in the line-up, but I really wanted to be a pitcher. I played in the outfield and kept taking pitching lessons for four years. The pitching coach I went to told my parents that I had NO potential. My parents, as loving and supportive as they are, were tired of seeing me struggle and wondered if I should give up pitching. Something inside me just wouldn’t allow that. Finally, my travel team coach, Dennis Gilcrease, told my parents about a pitching coach in Tyler, Texas about an hour and a half from my hometown. They decided to take me there and see what he had to say. The first day I met Bob Phelps (the pitching coach), he said, “Well, you look like a pitcher to me!” Dennis, my select team coach told me that he was going start putting me in to pitch. Our little team needed another pitcher and he thought I could do the job. He didn’t care what happened, win or lose, I was going to get some experience. That day, in one lesson, I gained five miles an hour. My confidence grew and grew. I had a few struggles in my games but it didn’t last long. I made drastic improvements in a very short period of time. People who had watched me pitch just months before couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Throughout this four year period, between the ages of 8-12, God was really working in my heart. I was learning more about Him and trying to find my place in the world to serve Him. I was so humbled that God would bless me in this way and allow me to actually be good at the game I loved so much. Looking back at all of this, I can see God’s hand in everything. When you know what it is like to sit the bench, you appreciate success so much more. You cannot even imagine the amount of pitches I’ve thrown and the hours my dad spent sitting on the bucket catching for me! If it had come easy, then I may not have learned to have a love for team like I do now and my faith wouldn’t have grown. I didn’t care about being the star, I just wanted to contribute.  I wanted to be able to say, “My team won the game and I helped them.” Throughout all of this, God was with me the whole time; He never left my side! After I started to improve, I started setting goals for myself. One of my goals was to make varsity as a freshman in high school. I also had a goal to win a state championship before I graduated. I made varsity as a freshman and had a good season. My sophomore year, I had right around 400 strikeouts on the season but we lost our 1st play-off game. I’ll never forget how that felt. 400 strikeouts are meaningless if you can’t lead your team to victory in even one play-off game. I began to pray about our upcoming season and God began to show me so many things. It was around this time that I started to get some attention from college coaches. I was just playing on a local select team. My parents and I knew nothing about how to get college exposure. My high school coach, Jimmy Eby, really helped me so much with this. He made phone calls for me and got the ball rolling. He continually told me to not be satisfied and to keep trying to improve, and I could actually go to a big college. Just around the time that it was crucial for me to be at my best for summer ball, I developed a stress facture in my lower leg again. (This was the second time this had happened). I was not able to practice for about a month before the exposure tournament in Colorado. During this time, Coach Eby had been in touch with Coach Howard Dobson about me. Coach Torina came down to Lufkin to watch me pitch. I had not pitched in over a month and I had a stress fracture, but she was still interested. I started to visit some colleges and pray about where God wanted me to be in college. It was a very overwhelming process and I felt under so much pressure. When I visited LSU, it felt like home to me and I really felt like Coach Beth could help me more than anyone to become a better pitcher. God gave me a peace when I was there and I knew that LSU would be my home one day.  With this decision behind me, it was time to focus on my next high school season. I had been praying about it for almost a year. I was in a new place as an athlete, people EXPECTED me to do good. I had always been the underdog and I was so comfortable in that position. It was a kind of pressure I had never felt and I had some mental struggles that I had never dealt with. I didn’t really like all of the attention that I was getting, (positive or negative). God gave me the verse Phillipians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” I clung to this verse. It became the theme for our season. Our assistant softball coach, Wes Capps, starting sending me Bible verses every night. I started to feel stronger and stronger. That year, we learned to believe in ourselves and in each other and we won the 3A State Softball Championship in Texas. We were the first team ever from our school to win a state championship.  Going into my next high school season I prayed about what our theme verse should be for my final year. Everywhere I turned I saw the verse, 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight”. Little did I know, I was going to learn to do just that my senior year! It wasn’t a fun lesson to learn. I wasn’t 100% for most of the season because I hurt my back and our team went into a hitting slump. We suffered two very humiliating losses to our district rivals, one where I gave up a homerun. It seemed like we just weren’t going to be able to have the same success as the year before, but we continued to walk by faith and not go on what we were seeing. We managed to make it to regionals, and my back was at the worst it had been all year. I hurt to just walk out on the field but somehow, with the help of God, my teammates and coaches, I muddled through and we won. I know that God was teaching me to rely on my teammates. We went on to win our 2nd state championship in a row and we were the 1st 3A team in Texas to ever win back to back! My team carried me through that championship game by scoring 12 runs. When you work really hard your whole life for something and you experience success, you tend to get prideful. Pride can be good but sometimes in can be bad. I can honestly say that throughout my softball career, there has never been a time that I haven’t totally had to rely on God. . Looking back I’m so thankful that God has taught me so many things in my young life. I’ve learned to put my faith in Him and to always stay humble. I’m glad nothing has come easy for me in my softball career. God keeps me mindful of who got me where I am today. He put all of the right people in my life along the way. I can’t thank those people enough. Most importantly, God was there. He was there when I was sitting the bench all those years ago and He was there on the mound with me in the final outs of those state championship games. I hope that my life and softball career can be a testimony for God’s faithfulness. I also hope that I can be an example to trust in God and never give up. Who would have thought that me of all people would have the privilege to play softball for a school like LSU? …but it happened! Now, I’m facing new challenges in my career here at LSU, but I won’t give up. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m where I belong and that God has a perfect plan. I’m learning new things each day and once again, my dream is to be able to contribute to my team. With God’s help, and the help of my teammates and coaches, I know I can do it!



Kelsee Selman