Please introduce yourself.
Hey, my name is Gabriela Slabá. I am 18 and I am from Prague, the Czech Republic. I have been playing softball for ten years now. I started playing T-ball when I was eight years old. My home team is Eagles Praha and I have played for them since I started. I have a brother who also plays for the Eagles. My first time on the national team was in 2012, in Collecchio, Italy. This year I am part of U19 team. 

What made you want to play softball?
Before softball, I played tennis and I was really unhappy. After some time my mother’s best friend, who was playing softball for Čechie, told my mum that the Eagles complex is beautiful and also that I should try to play softball. I tried it and now I am where I am. I am very thankful that she told my mum about this sport. 

Can you tell me something about softball in your country?
Softball in the Czech Republic is not very popular. We have many clubs, but for the general public it is an unknown sport. It’s a shame because Czech is really good at softball. On the other hand, I think it is getting better and better, and more and more popular. We have more visible events both with the Eagles and with the national team.  

How often do you practice with your national team and what do the practices look like?
With the national team we have practices the whole winter. Then, when the season starts, we have games with each club from the highest league. After all matches have been completed, the coaches publish the nomination. After that we have many camps and warm-up games. 

What's your best experience so far with the national team?
My best experience is for sure the World Championship in Clearwater, Florida last year where we made history for the Czech Republic. I still cannot believe what we did. It is indescribable! The second thing I want to mention is the NPF tour three months ago when we had a chance to practice with the best softball players in the world. 

What is your goal for the 2018 season?
If I talk about my club I want to be in the final of our highest league, and of course win the title. For the national team I want to show everyone that our team is the best in the Europe.

What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
One of my favorites is, “the ball is round, anything can happen”. 

Who's your role model and why?
For me, it is Giancarlo Stanton who is playing in the MLB for the New York Yankees. He is my favourite because I met him in Prague in 2011, and he was unknown. When he left Prague, he was getting more and more famous. Now, he is one of the best hitters in the Major League, and I always wanted to be as good as he is.

What do you think is the key to a successful team?
The key is good friendship and teamwork. When you have a team where players do not support each other, the team cannot achieve anything.

- Romy Marinus -