By Pavel Hrdina, European Softball Federation
She is the first Czech woman ever who played softball in a professional league. 21-years-old pitcher Veronika Pecková got paid by Taiwanese club to help them win their domestic title. Unfortunately, it slipped away from Caesar Park in the very last game. “I did what I love to do and I got paid for it. That has to be everybody’s dream,” young blonde Czech champion says.
Shortly after winning Czech title with her hometown Žraloci (Sharks) Ledenice, she packed her bags. “It was great that I didn’t have a long pause. After short celebrations, I had a couple of practices to stay in the mode. I struggled with the jetlag for a bit, but that also settled quite well,” she describes her move to Taiwan.
There she jumped into a season right before its climax and she helped her side Caesar Park to reach the finals shortly after her arrival. “Most of the players can’t speak English but they were always willing to help me when I needed. I think I fit in quite well, even though it doesn’t seem so from the pictures,” 188-cm-tall Pecková laughs. The first title in the Czech Republic, silver medal in Taiwan.
Taiwan may not have as many women-players as the Czech Republic, but they have a pro league just like the USA or Japan. And you can tell the difference from its quality: “It is better than the Czech league in both ways – offense and defense. They are really fast and skilled but there are also some strong hitters here. That surprised me a bit.”
In the Czech Republic, she helped her side to win Gold, in Taiwan the Czech international stayed one step below the top. “Of course I’m disappointed about that. We tried hard until the last out. It took all 7 games and it just didn’t fall our way in the end. Next time perhaps,” Pecková hopes.
Being a 21-years-old she has more experience than most of her older teammates. However, a taste of pro softball was something new to her. “I put myself under pressure with the fact they invited me to help them win and I didn’t want to disappoint them. On the other side, I did what I enjoy and I got paid for it. That has to be everybody’s dream.”
It is the end of a season now for Veronika Pecková but she won’t be bored as she has to catch up with her studies now. “Last season I was gone as well but it was okay in the end. Now it’s more difficult as I have a lot of duties plus I have to write my paper,” she says. Next year, she plans to play a season in New Zealand. Her Olympic dream is at stake and Veronika is willing to sacrifice a lot for it.