As the softball season was “officially” declared open at the start of the month, Miranda Cardinal and the Thunder ’93 team were already well into their schedule. Taking part in an early pre-season tournament in Las Vegas in February, the Thunder ’93 battled every American opponent to the end and highlighted the trip by capturing a victory against an “A” division team from BC. While the record sheet from the tournament did not show positive results in the win/loss column, the growth within the team and competitive juices were kick started. As games progressed Cardinal noticed that every pitch, hit and out made, helped prepare her teammates for the battles they would be sure to come across in their drive for a spot in the provincial tournament.
Born in Calgary AB, Miranda found herself “hanging out” at the diamond early and often in her young years as while her parents coached, she would watch the game from the dugout in her jumper. Relocating to the White Rock / South Surrey area when she was three years old, she joined a YMCA softball program and has not put down the bat and ball ever since. Just over a decade later and Miranda has been firmly entrenched in the SSWR (South Surrey/White Rock) Thunder program since starting with the team in grade six. After a handful of years with the Thunder 94 program and a quick cup of coffee with the Guildford Xtreme, Cardinal has returned to the Thunder system, this time moving up to play with the Thunder 93 club.
Entering her grade eleven year, Miranda has had her sights set on her softball future since her early days in the dugout jumper, starting with earning a softball scholarship in the States and then capping it off with a spot in the Canadian National program. Despite playing with an older age bracket, Cardinal believes that the unity on the team is just as tight as any other club she has been a part of, which is a huge part of their early season success as they aim towards a spot in the BC’s and then the Western Championships in Medicine Hat.
A well rounded player defensively, playing behind the plate, on either of the corner bags or out in left field, Miranda also provides her team with an offensive threat. As Ichiro is to the Seattle Mariners, Cardinal is to the Thunder 93 team as she combines a high batting average with crafty base movement. After years of dedicated practice honing her craft, often to the point in which Miranda feels as though her body takes over and her mind echoes silence, it comes as little surprise that while she may be on the younger side of the team’s age bracket, her experience and knowledge places her amongst the leaders of the club.
After taking in an early season tournament game at Softball City (located in South Surrey, BC) and sitting down with Miranda in mid April, I found that not only was she dedicated to enhancing her game on the field, but also off of it for when she finishes her playing career. As an assistant coach to her mom’s house division squirt team in 2009 and with the 96/97 Thunder last year, the Cardinal family has found that the apple as not fallen far from the tree. When asked who her sports idol was, preparing for a response of Jennie Finch, Miranda goes away from the norm as she tabs her aunt as the person she looks up to the most, wanting to soak up all her knowledge and experiences of the game, being that she was another branch on the family coaching tree.
With plenty of playing opportunities presented and many more down the road, like many great athletes, Miranda does not look past where she came from and how she got to where she is, as she often is looking for ways to help promote her sport. When asked about how she visions her sport growing, she notes that continued growth of the Canada Cup, which takes place at Softball City, is a great place to start attracting the youngsters, many of which she helps mentor on Friday evenings. There is no doubt that after spending time with Miranda Cardinal that her future with the game is bright be it on the field or in the dugout as she continues to put her all into the game and will one day be able to sit back and say that no matter what, she has left her absolute mind, body and soul on the ball diamond.