Softball was removed from the London 2012 Olympics when Women's Boxing was given a 'fair go' as one of the optional sports. But the softballers saw 'red', and now the 'Back Softball' campaign is under way in an attempt to push the sport back into the Olympic program.
Kylie was speaking to the Australian Missionary News IPTV (Television on the Internet) anchorwoman Delma Tronson, and the full interview can be found at
tv.bushorchestra.com and www.safeworlds.net
Kylie's long-term love of softball came from her family, she explained in answer to Delma Tronson's first question. From when she was a tiny tot, she remembers asking her mother, aunties and grandmother to throw the ball to her so she could either bat it or catch it.
"Growing up within my family in Toowomba," Kylie Cronk remembered, "When it came time for practice, there was always a committee of family members to assign 'volunteers' to all the mandatory batting and bowling roles."
Kylie valued the support of her family; it was critical in building her confidence in local matches. She enthusiastically told Delma how important it was, when she glanced over to the sideline, to see her mother and other family members there watching her.
Even when playing far from home at higher levels of the sport, and travelling for weeks or months at a time, Kylie Cronk knew the family was only a phone call away, and this support was integral to her self-confidence as an international player.
"My greatest highlight has been to stand on the dais to receive her Olympic Bronze Medal in Beijing," said Kylie, emotionally. "It gave credence for all the hard work and endless hours my family and I have put in. It is never an Olympic Medal for yourself."
Although Softball maybe out of the Olympics for the immediate future, there are World Championships and numerous other international tournaments. She and her supporters her have a lot to look forward to.
Kylie added that she has found the sports psychology workshops provided by the AIS very helpful in teaching her to deal with stress. They demonstrate how important it is to focus on the task at hand. If it is catching the ball, hitting the ball, or fielding the ball, that one thing is the focus, nothing else; not the limelight, not the crowd, not someone shouting, only that 'one task' at hand.
She has learnt also that it is important not to blow what you are doing out of all proportion. As a top athlete, you need to do what is required of you, perform the simple tasks well, do the job at hand to your utmost ability.
Kylie Cronk lives in Rockhampton, Queensland, and plays competition sofball locally. There, she trains with a whole bunch of junior players where they can see that Kylie is a normal person, but who puts in the 'big effort'.
However, she also travels once a fortnight to Brisbane to play, and to encourage the new generation of younger top-line softballers at the AIS. She feels this is an important role because many of her contemporaries at the Beijing Olympics have now retired.
"Both these local and national roles are very important to me," Kylie told Delma Tronson. "They place me on the same level as the juniors; it offers them the insights to achieve at top level and follow in my footsteps."