The first time Tigers’ center fielder Natalie Glover (first year) hits a college home run, she is going to flip her bat, run, jump and spin around the bases, do the whip between second and third, singing pop music the whole way, and finish with a cartwheel at home plate. Well, at least she will in practice. Entertaining as it is, the umpires might have something to say about it.
In addition to playing for Occidental, Glover is a member of the French national softball team. She trains and competes with the team during the summer, traveling around Europe and competing against other countries in various tournaments.
Since her mother is French, Glover has dual French and American citizenship. Her journey to the national team began when her next-door neighbor, an assistant coach for the Spanish national team, put her in contact with the coach of the French team when she began high school. After that, according to Glover, they emailed back and forth for two years until a spot opened up on the under-19 junior national team in her junior year of high school. She transitioned to the national team the next year — this coming summer will be her third with the team. They will be playing in the World Softball Championship in Surrey, Canada this July.
At Occidental, she is one of nine first-year players on a young Tigers’ squad. Even still, she has already emerged as a leader.
“She’s a very good motivator,” head coach Alison Haehnel said. “She’s the first person to make a silly comment when the team needs to be uplifted. She’s very good at including people … reminding the team of our potential and our capability.”
Glover’s teammate Alex Battest (junior) also noted her sense of humor.
“She is always cracking jokes, but she can also be super serious,” Battest said. “She’s always someone you want to be around.”
Glover hits lead-off for the Tigers and started off the season strong, hitting .291 with nine runs and four RBIs. She also leads the team with four stolen bases.
Glover said that for her, the most difficult thing about transitioning between the two teams is the different languages.
“I do speak French, and I’m pretty fluent,” Glover said. “But when you don’t speak a language for a while, it takes a while to get back in the groove of things.”
Transitioning back to French for the summer has made for some funny moments for both Glover and the team.
“My French obviously isn’t perfect, so sometimes I’ll say something and they’ll just die,” Glover said.
However, according to Glover, many of the girls on the French team are just as fascinated with America, and Los Angeles in particular, as an American might be with France. As a native of Camarillo, Calif. (a city about an hour north of LA), Glover fields many questions about her home from her French teammates.
But other than their language differences, Glover feels that the two teams — the French team and the Tigers — aren’t so different from each other.
“I would say the chemistry of the girls is very similar,” Glover said. “I consider my Oxy team family. We’re so close. And [in France], it’s the same.”
In both settings, Glover strikes a balance between serious competitor and light-hearted teammate. She takes the sport seriously — she’s been playing since she was six — but also makes it her goal every day to make her teammates laugh; whether that be with jokes and nicknames or her elaborate home-run trot.
“I’m a jokester,” Glover said. “I can be serious too when it’s game time and stuff, but definitely I’m about having fun.”
Haehnel appreciates her sense of humor.
“She’s a great leader for the team and someone we all look to to be that light-hearted, fun competitor,” Haehnel said. “We’re really excited to have her, and we love her a lot.”