Matador Minute with Karla Chaparro - Softball

April 27, 2011

Recently, senior Karla Chaparro of the CSUN softball team sat down with the media relations staff to talk about the Matadors' six final home games of the 2011 season. Originally from Pleasant Hill, Calif., Chaparro has been a mainstay at shortstop for Northridge over the past three seasons, often amazing onlookers with her defensive prowess.

How does it feel to be on the verge of your final home games?
"It's bittersweet. I am excited to graduate and move on, but it's sad that these games will be my last ones at Northridge. Considering some of the circumstances surrounding the program, it has been a great experience. The team could have allowed outside distractions to bother us, but I think it wound up only making us stronger."

As a finance major, what are your professional goals?
"I haven't narrowed it down yet, but I am thinking about financial planning or risk management. Being able to work with numbers and handle money is appealing. I am interested in discovering the nuances of financial markets."

How has the season been for you and the team?
"It has been frustrating at times. I don't think we're doing as well as we had hoped, but we go out there every day and work hard. We're just not getting the outcomes we want. From the outside, people may only see our record, but we know how much we've improved and what we need to do to get better."

Can you talk about the friendships between the seniors of 2011?
"We thought last year's group of seniors was close, and they certainly were, but this year's class is very tight. We have matching bracelets and we've already made plans after the softball season as to when we'll all see each other. We've been through so much together. Even the struggles this year have been made easier because we know that we'll always be there for each other."

What do you hope to accomplish over the next nine games?
"We want to play hard and compete. We want to prove to people we are a better team than our record reflects. We want to show respect and pride for our field and fans, and go out with a bang."

How did you become such a big Star Wars fan?
"My dad used to watch them and we had all the VHS tapes, so I'd watch them frequently. Then, when I was younger, the newer ones came out and I waited in line at midnight to go and see them. My favorite is Return of the Jedi due to the closure and I like that Luke Skywalker comes back and saves everyone."

How would you relate the lessons you learned from Star Wars to softball?
"Perseverance is a big one. No matter how hard it gets or what obstacles are in your way, if you stick with your plan and believe in yourself, you will succeed in the end. Another important lesson is patience. Jedi Knights preach patience and in softball patience is everything."

Do you have a favorite memory from your four years at CSUN?
"Going to Cal Poly last year was certainly memorable. The overall trip was a lot of fun. We went to some nice restaurants, hung out at the beach and picked up a pair of wins that were important in helping us win a share of the league title."

What advice might you share with any future Matador student-athletes?
"Make sure you have fun. Even if you don't get the outcomes you had hoped for, you still can work hard and have fun. Trust your teammates and use them as a resource. Being a student-athlete can be stressful and hard, but your team becomes a built-in family that is there to support and care for you."

What have you learned this year from Coach Flowers and her staff?
"They have helped me concentrate on the mental aspects of the game. They have really stressed to me to be confident and believe in myself. Coach Flowers gave me a book recently, "Zen Golf" and that book talks a lot about the mental game of sports."

Do you see softball being a part of your life beyond CSUN?
A; "Softball has been a big part of my life for so long, it's hard to think of it not being involved in my future. I am sure I'll join a slow-pitch league to continue playing and I used to coach high school softball, so that may also be in my future."

How nice has it been to have your family at nearly all of your games over your career?
"It's been a great support system. My mom and my aunt come to almost every game, sometimes making 10-hour trips just for a one game series. It's fun to look over and see them taking pictures behind the dugouts. Plus, going out to meals after games with family I don't get to see that often makes it special."

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