Lindsey Gerheim tuned in often to watch the 2012 Olympic Games in London the past two weeks. Unfortunately for the captain assigned to the 6th Military Police Group, Criminal Investigation Division, she didnt get to see her favorite sport.
After Japan defeated the USA softball team 3-1 for the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the sport was dropped by the International Olympic Committee. While Gerheim couldnt watch USA softball in London this year, the 27-year-old All-Army softball player has an Olympic memory not many can claim.
The USA softball team traveled to Columbus, Ga., in 2004 when Gerheim was a freshman on the U.S. Military Academy fastpitch team at West Point, N.Y. About 4,000 people were there to see Team USA defeat the Black Knights, 27-1. The experience was a memorable one for Gerheim.
They take the opportunity to get to know you and recognize our paths might be extremely different, but we both represent America in similar ways, Gerheim said. They were very supportive of us and what we did, and we were very excited to have the opportunity to share the field with amazing women and professional athletes.
At West Point, Gerheim was named to the third team of ESPN The Magazines Academic All-American Team and finished runner-up for the Lowes Senior Softball award. Gerheim finished out her 51-game collegiate career in 2007 batting .394 with 61 hits, seven home runs and 30 RBIs.
Gerheim made the transition to slow pitch after college to continue to play competitively. While deployed to Iraq in 2009, she made the cut for her first All-Army team and helped Army earn a silver medal in the Armed Forces tournament in Pensacola, Fla.
It was an intimidating field of competition, but extremely rewarding, Gerheim said. Girls fly in from around the world giving everything they have to earn a spot and represent the Black and Gold team.
Gerheim returned the next year and Army went undefeated to take back the gold from the Air Force. After her military duties forced her to miss the 2011 All-Army trial camp, she is back this year vying for one of the 15 roster spots, competing with 11 other veterans and 13 rookies Aug. 22 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. If she makes her third All-Army team, she will remain on the East Coast to play in nearby regional tournaments before Army hosts the Armed Forces tournament at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Army will play against the Navy, Marines and Air Force.
Every Soldier is an athlete in some kind of way, Gerheim said. The level of competition when you compete at the All-Army level is the closest thing we as Soldiers have to get to the Olympics. It puts your body through the rigors and the competition is fierce ... We do not like to lose. All the services take immense pride in their teams and have every right to be.
Gerheim started playing softball at 5 years old. After college she continued to play by seeking out the most competitive team in her area that understood her commitment to the Army came first. When Gerheim arrived at JBLM in February, she linked up with the Bullys, a Seattle team that plays weekend tournaments during the summer. Shes also playing JBLM intramural co-ed softball with the CID team.
Its a lifetime sport, Gerheim said. Its competitive at all levels and abilities, and something you can play into your 40s and 50s as long as you know your limits and your body.