Meritxell Blesa is a fresh-faced, 21-year old physical therapy student with a couch for surfers. On the field however, she’s a seasoned champion.
The shortstop of the championship Fenix in Valencia, Spain has been on the country’s national team since 2011. Because of her age, Blesa spent three of those years on the lower teams, but in 2015, and again in 2017, she played for the seniors.
When she’s not at short, or in class, Meritxell is on the field bringing up the next generation of Spanish ballers. She’s been coaching for three years now. EBSM spent some time with the young leader during a European Softball Coaches Association (ESCA) training session.
What’s your favorite thing about playing shortstop?
I like it because I find it very challenging. You have to move quite far, let’s say, and you have to get to the ball and make your best, and your fastest, throw in less than 3 seconds. So, for me it it’s very challenging and that’s what I like the most.
Have you played any other positions?
I would really like to try second base, because it’s something similar. I think I would find something different while I’m playing it.
Your team won Valencia’s first Spanish championship this year tell me a little bit about that experience.
It was great! We’ve always been an average team, but every year we try to make a step forward and become in a better position. So, last year we were the 3rd team in Spain and we didn’t imagine we could win.
You are in your final semesters of school for physical therapy. Do you know what you’d like to do after you graduate?
I’m interested in working with disabilities, or sports and disabilities, and maybe children as well.
I think because I started to coach little kids. I started to be interested in working with them and I thought I could combine that part which I find passion in me, with my physical therapy studies, and mixing all of it could result in a space for the children to learn, have fun and share with other children.
After a few false starts involving a returning bus filled with hungry players fresh off the field and some poor lighting options for hidden spaces, we finally found a way to get Meritxell on video to give us a more in-depth interview.
So much laughter went into the making of this video. After five shoot location attempts Meritxell, this woman with Mediterranean blood coursing through her veins, volunteered to step out into the 35F degree (5c), rainy weather, to ensure we got you the best footage. She was tougher than me in the end, never shaking a second until the red light was off. Blesa definitely racked up some toughness points in the effort. Not only did she make it through without chattering her teeth, she shared some great wisdom as well.