Competing in the World Maccabiah Games softball tournament is Maren Angus’ comeback in the sport, and it provides a poignant bookend to the previous end of her playing days.
Angus, who lives in Hendersonville, Tenn., was selected for the Open Women’s softball team, coached by Nicky Arias. She will be accompanied by Rebecca Blitz of Birmingham, who plays for Indiana University.
Born in Los Angeles, Angus started playing softball at age 4. She grew up in Tennessee and played for Station Camp in Gallatin, east of Nashville.
Her senior year, Station Camp was seeded third for the district tournament, and the top two teams would advance to the regional. For two years, they had finished third, and this was going to be the year they broke through.
But heavy rains forced the cancellation of the 2009 tournament, the top two seeds moved on automatically and she didn’t get a chance to play in the postseason. It was an unfulfilling end to her softball career.
“I knew I wasn’t going to play in college,” because the previous summer, when she would have been undergoing the recruiting process for college scholarships, she had the opportunity to go to Israel. Figuring she wasn’t going to be making a living playing softball, she chose to go to Israel instead. Now, she writes for fastpitchnews.com, covering Southeastern Conference softball.
She tried to walk on at Arizona State, then wound up at Middle Tennessee State, coaching and giving private lessons.
Last June, she was visiting friends in California who played for a co-ed fast pitch league. The team they were playing had a couple of guys on the Maccabiah team, and they urged her to try out. Living an hour from the nearest Jewish Community Center, she said “it’s not like I was active” in the community.
When she got home, she started training in Tennessee and at Auburn University, where Softball Coach Clint Myers gave her access to the facilities.
“I cover Auburn softball more than anything,” she said, and spent much of the past year going back and forth to Auburn.
Last July, she headed to Chicago for the tryouts, and weeks later found out she had made the team.
The team will head to Israel on June 28 and the players have a week to get to know each other before the games begin.
“This is the most proud I have ever been,” she said. “Playing Maccabi is an opportunity not many girls from Tennessee get to do. I can’t wait to not just represent my family and my country but my heritage as well.“
It is also a chance to work on some unfinished business. “It’s bringing my career full circle,” she said. “The reason I stopped playing is the reason I’m coming out of retirement.”
But after the games, back to retirement, and writing about the game that she loves.