April 2, 2008
Alissa Haber, an All-American outfielder for the Cardinal, is a sophomore from Newark, Calif. After leading the team in nearly every offensive category as a freshman last year, she is off to another impressive start this season. Alissa currently leads the team with a .398 batting average, 14 multiple-hit games and 10 doubles. At the beginning of the season, she was named to the 12-player ESPN Preseason All-America Team and the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List.
Describe your trip to the Netherlands with the U.S. Junior National Team this summer.
Playing for the Junior National Team was an unforgettable experience, and I feel very fortunate that I got to experience the thrill of playing for the U.S.A.. I had always wanted to travel to Europe, so being able to do that and play softball was really a dream come true. We played in a small town in Holland named Enschede, and while I was nervous about being in a foreign country for two weeks, the people were very kind and welcoming and always had plenty of questions about what it is like to live in America. Playing international ball is such a unique experience. Not only do you get to represent your own country, but you get to meet other softball players from all over the world. It definitely taught me to appreciate the game, and it helped me realize how fortunate I am to play at the level I play at. Outside of softball, we were able to take in the sights that Holland had to offer. On one particular day, our coaches set up a field trip to Bad Bentheim, an old castle just across the German border that is famous for being the oldest castle in Europe that was untouched by the First and Second World Wars. It was a wonderful piece of European history that I really enjoyed. After the tour of the castle we took a scenic drive around the Dutch countryside, and even saw an authentic windmill! I loved my experience in Europe, and the best part hands down was winning a gold medal for the U.S.A.
Being from the Bay Area, were you a Stanford fan growing up?
I am from the East Bay, which would usually mean that I am Cal fan, but I can remember being a fan of Stanford from a very young age. Specifically, I was always a fan of Stanford softball and volleyball. I can remember going to a Stanford softball game when I was in 7th grade. In that particular game I watched Jessica Mendoza hit two homeruns, and I was instantly a fan. In fact, I stole one of the home run balls (something that I do not encourage our fans to do) and had Jessica sign it after the game. In fact, that ball is still sitting on my bookcase to this day. Ever since I saw Mendoza play I knew I wanted to go to Stanford, and being able to play softball at Stanford has truly been a dream come true for me.
What has been your favorite class at Stanford?
Last year I took an Intro to Urban Studies class. I really didn't expect much out of the class except that it would fill up some requirements. However, I took that class with a couple of my teammates, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. One particular assignment that I really enjoyed was when we had to go to San Francisco and observe an average city street. My teammate Maddy Coon and I were partners for this assignment, and so on one of our off days we took to the streets to find the perfect city block. After spending hours on numerous buses, and walking many miles, we finally ended up finding a great little park in North Beach. What began as just an assignment for a class turned into a great adventure in the city, and we got some great Italian food!
Describe some of the team's activities in the community.
I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to attend such a great university, and the volunteer work that we do as a team really helps in being able to give back to the community and aid those who may be less fortunate. The Stanford softball team participated in many volunteering functions this past fall. We fed the homeless at the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, and we also participated in a charity walk for breast cancer. Both of these functions were great because not only were we able to give back to the community, but they were also great team bonding activities!
What are you interested in outside of softball?
I have been a bookworm my entire life. Although I don't really get to keep up on my reading while I am in school, whenever I have any free time I like to relax and read a good book. I started reading at a very young age, which is something I attribute to my mother. She taught me how to read very early, I believe, because before I knew how to, I would ask her to read me about 10 books every night before I went to bed. Although I am sure she loved to read to me, I could understand how time consuming it must have been! When it comes to books, I could really talk forever, as many of my teammates already know. But if I had to pick a favorite genre I would have to say that I am fascinated with American literature and short stories. I am a sucker for classic American novels. My favorite books include The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, Cannery Row and The Catcher in the Rye among others. I recently just decided to major in English, so I am excited to see what opportunities there are for me as I get to study something that I am truly passionate about.
Alissa's outlook on the week ahead:
I believe that this week is going to be a real test for us as a team. We suffered some pretty tough loses in the opening weekend. However, when you play in the Pac-10, there is no time to feel sorry for yourself, because you have to get ready to play two more great teams the next weekend. We are working hard to improve every day at practice and learn from our mistakes. I believe our team is strong and dedicated enough to rise to the challenge. I feel this weekend holds great possibilities for us to prove to everyone that we are a great team.