The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Sports

July 7, 2014

Bone enjoying time at Marshall

Taren Bone saw a little of herself in the girls she coached this summer in the Fayetteville Little League.

Bone, a Fayetteville High School graduate who’s currently attending Marshall University, was head coach of a group of 13- to 16-year-olds this summer, and her main goal was to help the players improve as well as keep them interested in softball without putting too much of a burden on their lives.

The coach label “was a hard title for me to get used to because I’m only a few years older than these girls,” said Bone. “But I was able to help them improve their skills that they had already had and introduce small aspects to the game of softball that they didn’t know a lot about.

“I really saw improvement in all of the girls and that made me feel accomplished and proud of them for the work they had done.”

The squad played 22 games in slightly over a month’s time. “That’s a lot of softball for these girls to play. Most of them play 2-3 sports year round so I was extremely happy with the effort they gave me. I played 2-3 sports year round from the age of 10 so I knew what they were feeling and how tiring that life style can be.

“A kid playing several sports for that long can get burnt out and start to dislike the game, and I did not want that to happen. I wanted them to have fun and be able to escape from things that could be going on in their lives and school, even if only for a few hours a day.”

Bone said she tried to spice things up for her charges.

“I would come up with games for them to play at practice that allowed them to be loose and have fun but compete and work on their skills as well,” she said. “I think they really enjoyed that, and the season as a whole. I know I did.”

“It’s really important to me to have the opportunity to give back because I would not be where I am now if it weren’t for the people that helped me out when I was growing up and playing in the local leagues,” she added. “I’m hoping to have the same opportunity next summer.”

 

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Bone, who is studying athletic training with a concentration on pre-physical therapy in Huntington, recently completed another season as the undergraduate student manager for the Marshall softball team.

The 2014 Thundering Herd squad held the seventh seed going into the CUSA Tournament and wound up advancing to the championship game before falling 8-0 to top-seeded Tulsa in the finals.

It marked the third straight appearance in the championship game for MU, including the 2013 season when the Herd was CUSA champ and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

“That was absolutely the best weekend of my life,” Bone said about the 2013 title run. “I never thought I would be able to witness and be a part of such an amazing and historical event.

“We got rings for the championship. I recently received mine and that is when it really hit me that I was involved in something so special and bigger than anything that I have ever done in my life.”

Coming out of high school, Bone had considered the possibility of playing collegiately. She enrolled at Marshall but the Herd roster was already full, so she embraced the chance to be involved as a manager.

Her duties with the team vary from day to day, she said. “I have caught bullpen sessions, helped with defensive and offensive drills, thrown front toss (for hitting), helped with equipment and uniforms during games, set up and run film during games, and anything else that the coaches or the team needs me to do for them.”

It’s been a great learning experience, Bone said.

“I had learned a lot from this experience so far. Not only have I learned a lot about the game of softball but I also have learned a lot about myself while with MUSB.”

It’s also given her the chance to connect with Olympians such as Natasha Watley, Monica Abbott, Leah O’Brien-Amico and Kelly Kretschman, as well as meet her favorite softball player, Ashley Charters.

“I can’t thank the coaches, staff and players of MUSB enough for everything they have done for me over the past two seasons. People ask me ‘why do you do what you do... don’t you want to play?’ ” Of course I would love to be playing, but I absolutely love what I do and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As long as I can be around the game I love I’m great and life is awesome.”

— E-mail: skeenan@register-herald.com

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