Women in Sport: Melitah Seabelo of Titans Softball Club
By LEBOWA MOROEN
Melita Seabelo may be a member of a club that is just a year old, Titans, but her softball career spans as far back as 1999. She is without a doubt a veteran player, who still hungers to improve. But what led this 32-year-old’s approach to the sport she now holds so dear to heart?
Melita’s first encounter with the sport began at St Joseph’s College back in 1999. Her family resided close to the school, meaning she simply had to cross the street to watch the school’s softball teams playing. It was then that the youngster witnessed her first home run blasted out of field by a male player. This sparked a desire in her: she too would hit a home run and play softball in future.
She followed this passion as a Form 1 student quitting athletics to take up softball, then continued to chase it as a Form 4 student at St Joseph’s College. Her exceptional ability to play catcher stood out as she was chosen as captain of her team while at junior school and St Joseph’s College.
In 2003, 18-year-old Melitah was introduced to club softball when her school coach, who also doubled as Bears coach, encouraged her to join the Gaborone-based team. She began playing in the national league and was so outstanding a player that she got her first senior team cap later that year.
“I told myself from day one that I wanted to play in the national team. I was young but my goal was to get that national team cap. I loved softball so I played my best the first year I was called to represent my country at the Junior Women Softball World Championships in China,” she recalled.
She went onto to become a League and cup-winning player with Bears winning the National League several times during her 13-year stay at the club, where she served as a captain. In 2016, she and some other members of the club defected to form her current team, Titans, with the goal of repainting the image of women in softball by playing a different and unique style.
Now the 32-year-old serves as a teacher to her younger team members who she hopes she can inspire. Still hungry for more taste of the game and home runs, Melitah happily acknowledges her age is not stopping her from giving her best.
“In softball, age means nothing. Yes, you’re limited the older you get because you have more responsibilities. But if you work hard and train, you can match up easily against much younger players. I want these young girls to learn this from us. You can do anything if you work hard,” she stated.
The energetic woman openly appreciates the development that women’s softball has advanced since she was a young learner. She says the growth has been due to female players taking their sport more seriously.
“We have a lot of women who are the best, they can to improve the game on and off the court. I think when we started to improve our standard of play and increased the number of players on teams, that’s when the game started to grow as well. Now even our male counterparts take us seriously. Today we get professional treatment with umpires and officiating, we’ve come a long way,” Melitah told “Echo Sports”.
She says her biggest wish is for the world and the country to see that a female can play as hard and entertaining as anyone else. Her love for the sport is likely to burn for many years to come as she has plans to play master’s softball after she turns 35.
“There is no retirement, I’m in it for life. After master’s softball, I’ll start coaching at development level,” she said, laughing.
To date, she still juggles work, church, family and the sport she loves. Don’t forget this veteran because Melitah Seabelo is a name that’ll be synonymous with softball for many years to come.