“I enjoy the traveling to different bases and tournaments with the ladies,” Cooper said.
“Downtown teams aren’t going to do all that. Plus, I get to go out and represent Sheppard and support the base.”
The Lady Senator’s coach, Ron Brown, said Cooper is a great player and team member.
“Tina knows how to keep the balance between being highly competitive and making sure to enjoy the fun of the game,” Brown said. “She is a veteran player who provides a sense of stability for all our players.”
It was an experience while playing with the Lady Senators that led Cooper to apply for the All-Air Force women’s softball team.
“I was at the Air Education and Training Command Softball Championships last year when Jack Hayes, a former Air Force softball player and coach, pulled me aside and said ‘I want you to put your 303 (Air Force form 303, the application to play on an armed forces team) in and try out for the Air Force team,” Cooper said.
“For someone of that caliber to come up to me and say to try out was an honor in itself. I figured I had nothing to lose, so why not.”
Cooper began training for the trial camps in February, and since then, has been playing softball at a breakneck pace.
“I’m always doing something (softball related); I practice three to four times a week and am practically always playing in a tournament of some sort on the weekends,” Cooper said. “I’ve been practicing on my fundamentals.”
Cooper’s time with the Lady Senators gives her plenty of practice at-bat, which she said is something she, like almost all softball players, can always use.
She said in addition to her time on the field, Cooper has been doing weight training in preparation for the All-Air Force tryouts.
Brown said it’s Cooper’s love for the game that lets her play and practice at a near constant pace, all the while serving as an active-duty Air Force member.
“Tina appreciates the game for what it is, a game,” Brown said.
“When you enjoy what you do, it’s easy to just keep playing and playing at a high level.
“Everyone on the team is extremely proud of her and we all want to see her make the Air Force team,” Brown said.
“She is paving the way for others to follow.”