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Tina Cooper snags a ball during Lady Senator practice July 24. Cooper has been selected to attend the 2006 All-Air Force Women’s Softball trial camp, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob Corbin
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tina Cooper
Airman to Attend Softball Trial Camp
By Airman Jacob Corbin
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, August 1, 2006 — Constant practice and nonstop softball action have prepared a Team Sheppard member to potentially become the first Sheppard representative to the All-Air Force women’s softball team.

Tina Cooper, an Air Force specialty code awarding scheduler with the 982nd Training Group, has been selected for the 2006 All-Air Force women’s softball team trial camp this year at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

If she’s selected after 19 days of practice and tests of her softball skill, Cooper will go on to compete in the Armed Forces Women’s Softball Championship at Hill.

There, she would go on to compete against the best our sister services have to offer in the world of women’s softball.

Getting to this point, only a week away from leaving for Hill, has been a long road for Cooper.

Cooper has been playing softball for almost 25 years, starting out when she was an 8-year-old in Richmond, Mo. While growing up near Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Cooper played softball all through high school and was named team captain in her junior and senior years.

“I’ve always been active; growing up I played just about every sport there was to play,” she said. “Softball has always been my favorite though.”

Cooper said softball is a mainstay; she’s played on high school teams, coed and women’s league teams and on-base softball teams at every location where she’s been stationed.

Over the 15 years she’s been in the Air Force, Cooper has gotten plenty of experience on military softball teams.

Cooper said she’d played on teams at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., and here on Sheppard with the Lady Senators.

Arriving at Sheppard eight years ago, Cooper was assigned to teach at the 363rd Training Squadron, where she spent five years before she was assigned to her current special duty position with the 982nd Training Group.

Throughout this time, Cooper has been splitting her playing time with the Lady Senators and playing on Wichita Falls City League teams, including her current team, The Tribe.

In addition, she plays on a coed tournament-only team, Texas One. Cooper said she enjoys playing with the Lady Senators because it offers her opportunities she wouldn’t have on the city league teams.

“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.”

Last Updated:
08/01/2006, Eastern Standard Time
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