Linn-Mar softball team inspired by letter from alumna, now a nurse

Published: Apr. 25, 2020 at 11:02 PM CDT
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No one knows if a season is going to happen for high school baseball and softball. A decision is expected to happen on June 1.

At Linn-Mar, softball head coach Lindsey Murray is trying to keep her players' spirits up. One step she took was asking former players to write letters to the team. They could be about advice or words of encouragement.

One of those letters was from 1996 graduate, Betsy Deitte, who was known as Betsy Baumgartner as a player. She's now an ER nurse at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts, which is just outside of Boston.

"I thought back to what would I have wanted to know if I was 18, about to embark on the rest of my life, leaving my parents house and everything else," said Deitte. "I couldn't have known then what I know now that life can be hard."

Deitte is on the front lines currently working in the ICU during the COVID-19 pandemic. In her letter, she shared some of the pain and difficulty she goes through while battling the virus.

"Right now I'm seeing a lot of fear and suffering," she wrote. "I unfortunately am often the only person in the room when somebody dies because of COVID. I hold their hands, given them all the drugs I can to keep them calm and help them pass peacefully. Others, I struggle to keep alive. I do my best to keep them focused and calm when they are terrified and no family is with them. I watch this virus strike young, old, healthy, and those with multiple comorbidities. I have never seen anything like this in all my years working, and I have done work globally as a Durant Fellow in Refugee Medicine. My colleagues and I have all made sure we have our wills updated, and our wishes known. We are at war with this virus."

"I was in tears and I was so full of emotion," said Linn-Mar softball coach Lindsey Murray.

Murray was so moved by Deitte's letter that she emailed it to every player on the team. She also plans to frame and hang the letter in the locker room.

"I just hope it makes students and players appreciate every game," Murray said.

For Deitte, she hopes the players, including the seniors, remember the lessons their coaches taught them, just like she did 25 years ago.

"I think the more that you practice a skill, the easier it becomes and when you've done a lot of that that just because they don't get this last year, although that's hard, they have so much more ahead of them," Deitte said. "I just want them to know that this is just the beginning."

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