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Un-Bell-ievable
Jason Arens
Antelope Staff
Photo Courtesy of www.cardinalsbern.ch
Former UNK player Amanda Bell releases the pitch for the Bern Cardinals as they faced off against the Zurich Challengers this past summer. Bell, who graduated in 2007, has been invited to return to the team next season, but has yet to commit.

Amanda Bell came to UNK as a determined athlete with a rocket arm looking to make a difference in Loper softball.  She exceeded all expectations and was a leader for a very successful team. Her career was capped off by being named the RMAC Pitcher of the Year in 2007. After graduation, Bell still had a burning desire for softball and decided to take it to the next level. She joined a professional softball team in Switzerland, recently completed her first season with the team and is currently back in the United States.

The UNK alumna was kind enough to answer a few questions about her first big year on the professional circuit.


So Amanda, I guess I’ll start by asking about your team—your city, mascot, schedule, etc.


My softball team was called the Bern Cardinals out of Bern, Switzerland. We played about 30 games this season including the finals.


How was your fan base?


Our fan base is not huge because softball is still not a very recognized sport in Europe, especially not in Switzerland.


Any notable cities you got to travel to and visit?


All of our games were against French or Swiss teams, but we were able to travel to Paris and L'Ocaneau, France, Rome, Italy and Amsterdam, Holland.


With all of the traveling, I’m assuming that you got to experience a wide arrangement of food?


The food was unbelievable! Quite possibly one of the things I am going to miss most. Everything seemed fresher, and there was a different type of leisure that came with dining over there. Many people would offer to cook for us, and it would always be a feast.

Some Swiss dishes that were popular were fondue and faclette. Also Berner Platte was a popular dish from the region I lived in. Most Swiss dishes consist of quite a bit of cheese, but there were also a lot of sausages used in the dishes. I will also miss this Swiss drink called Rivella.  It was a milk-based soda—sounds weird, but it was so incredible.


What difficulties did you face trying to adjust to a foreign country?


I would say that the hardest part adjusting was the language barrier. There are also quite a few generalizations about Americans that are hard to overcome. It was great to live in the country long enough to learn the culture and customs rather than just being a tourist and taking those things for granted, though.


What is the difference between playing softball at UNK vs. playing softball in Switzerland?


The difference is the level of competition. The level of college ball was actually higher than it was over there. The Americans who play over there are all looked at as superstars, so it was pretty cool.
Can you name some of the perks that came with playing overseas?


We were treated incredibly well, and people were always asking for private lessons. Also, people were always preparing meals for us, or taking us to places that we otherwise would have never seen. Of course, being paid was the largest perk.


Sounds like it was a blast. How long do you intend on playing overseas for?


I am not sure how long I will play overseas. I have been asked to return to Switzerland next year, but have yet to commit. This year we reached the finals with our team for the first time in club history, and we also earned a birth to the European Cup for the first time. We have already decided that we will fly out and play with the team in the European Cup next August, but will decide in the next few months whether or not we will join them for the entire season which begins in April. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life by far, and I cannot wait to travel again.

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