MERCED, Calif. – Within the North Valley nowadays, Madilyn “Bubba” Nickles is form of an enormous deal.
“It’s simply so great, each time I am going to the grocery retailer, ‘persons are like, oh my gosh, you’re Bubba Nickles,’” stated the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Softball Crew, once we caught up along with her at her home in Atwater not too long ago, earlier than she departed for Tokyo.
And the assist from her area people has prolonged to her mom’s office.
“I work at Costco right here in Merced,” stated her mother Natalie. “And so they’re placing collectively a bunch of shirts that say, ‘we assist USA softball, and (they) put her title and quantity on their backs.”
Bubba is used to this sort of consideration, as a result of she has been on the nationwide radar since her highschool days. She was named the Gatorade Nationwide Softball Participant of the 12 months as a senior at Merced Excessive College in 2016.
One yr later, she was named USA Softball Junior Feminine Athlete of the 12 months, then had an All-American season as a junior at UCLA, in serving to lead the Bruins to a nationwide championship in 2019.
However when you discuss to her mother and father, softball is only a small a part of what makes their daughter particular.
“I get extra compliments on her character, or how pleasant she is, how receiving she is to different individuals,” stated her father Ted. “Her religion may be very robust. I imply, I couldn’t be extra proud.”
“She’s loving and sort, and beneficiant, and only a hard-worker,” added Natalie. “And I imply, she’s all of the issues, and he or she makes us so proud.”
It’s not stunning then, that household and mates all through the Valley, from Sacramento to Merced, on right down to Fresno, will probably be rooting her on as she goes for the gold in Tokyo.
“We’re gonna have watch events right here, and invite all people over, that wishes to return watch,” stated Ted.
And win or lose, Bubba will carry along with her onto the Olympic diamond in Tokyo, the teachings realized 1000’s of miles away again right here within the Central Valley.
“Simply keep true to herself, play the sport like she’s at all times performed it,” answered Natalie, when requested what recommendation she would give her daughter heading into the Olympics.
“Simply play arduous and have enjoyable,” summed up Ted. “That’s how I’ve at all times coached her.”
Bubba and Crew USA will truly open Olympic competitors earlier than the Opening Ceremonies on Friday. Their first recreation in opposition to Italy will happen at 8 p.m. pacific time on Tuesday evening (12 p.m. Wednesday in Tokyo). It can air on the NBC Sports activities Community.