Name - Britt Hightower age-39
Played with such powerhouses as Smythe Sox, Ritch's Superior, Ritch's before they merged with Superior. Sunbelt Plastics, R & D Easton, Howard's Furniture.
Big Cat : I heard you had shoulder surgery just recently, what are your plans for softball this year.?
10 Man: As of April 1st I am going to play for Sunbelt Plastic out of Centerville, Georgia.
Big Cat: Were you thinking about retiring this year.
10 Man: Yes I was but it was just a passing thought.
Big Cat: Just how many years have you been playing softball.
10 Man: I have been playing since 1984. I started out with Tim Smythe on a class C Team. Then in 1985 we went Class A and came in second at the Cajun after we beat Morgan Boots and Stone City Stars and lost to Elite Coatings. That was my first experience of the USSSA World Series.
Big Cat: When did you win your first National Championship?
10 Man: 1986 with Smythe Sox after we beat Howard's Furniture for the USSSA World Series title.
Big Cat: So just how many national championships have you won?
10 Man: 27
Big Cat: Out of all of the championships is there one that stands out in your mind?
10 Man: Actually there is two that stand out. The victory over your Steele's team in 1987 at Waterloo and the win at the USSSA at Daytona in 1991 when we double dipped Starpath. Plus winning the Grand Slam in 1992.
Big Cat: What do you give all your credit too for your success.?
10 Man: Desire, Dedication, my team mates and the love of the game.
Big Cat: It was rumored a few years back that you use to hit anywhere from 200 to 300 balls a day. Were there any set routine in those batting practices. If so could you relate them to the players of today.
10 Man: I plan my batting practices according the park that I am playing at the following weekend.
Big Cat: Can you break the practice down.
10 ManBatting Practice Routine
Big Cat: It must of felt pretty good last year to only play half of the season and win two National Championships. Can you reflect on that for me.
10 Man: I had a lot of fun playing with that bunch of guys. I knew the team could win a championship but we surprised a lot of people and won two of them. It was really cool wining the USSSA World Series again. Making it my 6th USSSA World Series Ring. But once again it goes back to my team mates. I loved them because they swung from their ass and they weren't scared of anybody.
Big Cat: Is it getting harder to prepare for each season you continue to play?
10 Man: Yes it is because I'm coming off a shoulder operation. Because of my business there is a lot less time for me to prepare for the season.
Big Cat: Everybody knows about your powers as a hitter but to me the one thing that really made you stand out at the ball park was your defense. How much do you think defense is important in today's softball games? Or should I say what level of softball do you think there is the best defense?
10 Man At the Super level if you miss one ball it can cost you 10 runs or better. I wish every ball in every game was hit to me. I love to play defense. There is nothing better than stealing a hit from somebody in a big game when everybody thinks it's a sure hit.
Big Cat: Did you excel at any sports while you were in High School? If so what were they?
10 Man: I played Baseball and Football and lettered in both sports. I got drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays right out of High School but I went to work for my dad.
Big Cat: Just so people have an understanding of what makes you tick when you get to the ball park Britt, what are you thinking about before, during , and after the game. What's your game plan?
10 Man: What people don't realize is that I am a different person off the field than I am when I play. When I cross the lines I have no friends except my team mates. I am out to do whatever it takes to help my team win, whether it be screaming at someone on the other team. Trying to get inside their heads.
Big Cat: Can you remember your first experience in Big Time Softball?
10 Man: 1986 in the Cajun Classic playing against Steele's Sports. I will not forget my first at bat because Rick Weiterman was in my ear my first at bat. He was in my ear every time I came to the plate. I let him get to me, and I was more worried about him than I was about hitting the ball. I think I popped up to the catcher, the pitcher and over the first base dugout. But then I learned to focus on what I was doing in the game and things fell into place. In other words I got an attitude. The veterans on the team helped me out a lot.
Big Cat: How old were you when you think it all began to fall into place for you? In other words when do you think it was you hit your prime in softball.
10 Man: It all started to come together when I was 33 years old. I had more confidence and more desire to play the game. But I am 39 now and I know that I can be as good as I have ever been with right amount preparation. Because preparation is the key to success. A perfect example was my good friend Dirk Androff. He was the most prepared and dedicated to staying on top of anyone I have ever met. He taught me a lot about preparation.
Big Cat: Speaking of Dirk would say that there is a camaraderie in the game of softball?
10 Man: One time or another the players on the top level have played with one another or against each other for years. I won't play softball forever but I will always have the friends that I have made in softball for a lifetime.
Big Cat: Who are some of your favorite players over the years?
10 Man: I have played with and against the best. Some of the players that stand out. Rick Scherr, Buddy Slater, Mike Macenko, Doug Roberson, Dirk, Bill Gatti, Craig Elliott, all of the Ritch's Superior players for sure, I could go on forever. I have seen it all.
Big Cat: What is your outlook on this season?
10 Man: I really am looking forward to playing with my old roomy Larry Fredieu, and some of my old team mates. We've got a great team and a legitimate chance to win some more world championship. I am really excited about getting started this year.
Big Cat: How do you think the game has changed over the years.
10 Man: In the past 4 years the game has changed for the worst. And I think because of, number one the bats, number two the money that is being thrown around to players that haven't won any championships. I feel that you have to prove yourself for a few years and win something before you deserve the big bucks. Number 3, there are too many guys playing for the money instead of for the love of the game. I am not saying that there are players that don't love the game but most of the players trying to make it to the super level are just worried about how much money they are going to get. Our Ritch's Superior team all had Personal Service contracts but once we crossed the lines money was the farthest thing from our minds. I think that is the reason that we won as much as we did. Not for the money but for the love of the game.
Daytona, Florida - USSSA Men's World Series
Big Cat: Now that your children are getting older how much longer will you be playing softball?
10 Man: I plan on playing as long as I have the desire and as long as my body will let me.
Big Cat: Do you have any closing comments?
10 Man: I want to thank my wife and children for putting up with me being gone in the evenings when I am working out and hitting and being gone on weekends for tournaments for the past 14 years. They don't see much of me in the summertime. It's a lot of work for my wife to take care of the family while I am gone. And I love them for it. I also would like to personally thank all of my team mates over the years for giving me the privilege of being part of the game of softball.