PUEBLO, Colo. (January 2, 2018) – Former Colorado State University-Pueblo softball standout Lexie Martindale (Pueblo, Colo.) earned an experience of a lifetime this past summer as she was chosen to compete in the Beyond Sports' Second Annual South Africa Softball Tour from June 5-17 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Martindale joined a team of all-conference honorees and statistical leaders from colleges across the country to take on Cape Town's best softball teams in three friendly games.
"I first heard about the program through an email invitation that was sent to Coach (Christie) Koschke. She forwarded it on to me to decide if I would like to attend or not," Martindale said. "I only had 21 days to accept or decline my invitation. I had never been to South Africa let alone so far away from my family or on an airplane for so long but I was excited."
After the 27-hour long flight, Martindale and the rest of the team scattered from across the country, traveled two days together before arriving in Cape Town.
"I had girls on my team from Minnesota, Maine, Kentucky, Georgia and others. Everybody became very good friends right away."
In addition to the competition component of the trip, the athletes also provided softball clinics for South African youth. Clinics and games were hosted in partnership with the Cape Town Softball Association.
"The competition was completely different from playing in the United States. We won all the games but we were also a lot more developed in terms of our skill level."
"We helped the girls and shared our softball knowledge with them. There were 75-100 athletes that attended each clinic. They were so eager to learn and very grateful for our support."
The group also spent time learning about South African history and culture as they visited Robben Island (the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration), the Castle of Good Hope, District 6 Museum, hiked Table Mountain, and enjoyed a Big Game Safari.
"The culture was very different in South Africa. It was very humbling and we mainly wanted to make a positive impact while we were there. The hike up Table Mountain was a two mile hike and is an experience I will never forget."
"Once at the peak you could see the whole town of Cape Town and directly across from us was the ocean, it was beautiful."
One of the major highlights of the trip for Martindale was going on a big game safari.
"I got to feed an elephant but my favorite animal on the safari was the cheetahs. We were about 25 feet from where they stood, it was scary but so amazing," Martindale added.
"Overall this was not an easy decision but was an experience of a lifetime. I paid my own way with help from family, friends, coaches, and sponsors. I was there for two weeks and I met some great people. I hung up my cleats in South Africa and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way."
Beyond Sports, founded in 2010, is the first study abroad program designed specifically for student-athletes. To date, they have hosted athletes from over 350 different colleges across the country through summer, Jan-term and semester programs in Costa Rica, South Africa, Spain and Australia.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.