Missouri Western softball player Toni Dance is different than any other player on her team. Dance is from Brisbane, Australia, and now lives in the United States because her talents allowed her to join a U.S. college team.
Dance is a foreign student, but there is nothing foreign about her game. She is the softball team’s leading home run hitter this year with 11. She also leads the team in RBI’s. Her hitting skills started to develop at a young age, when she was introduced to the game.
“I was introduced to the game at 11,” Dance said. “My teacher, by the name of Peter Kenny, was the one who did.”
Dance relocated to the U.S. in the year 2007 because they did not offer softball in Australia like they do in the United States. She originally went to Iowa Western Community College before transferring to Missouri Western.
Her hitting there was like a coming out party because she hit 22 home runs her sophomore season at the college. This good season gave her the extra boost to be able to join the Western softball team.
Dance has other hobbies that she enjoys other than playing softball like reading books or watching movies. Her favorite movies are comedies because she likes to laugh. Her favorite books are the Cherub series.
Dance has a lot of different experiences in her life because she can say that she has lived in two countries her lifetime.
There are differences in the way Australia does things compared the United States. Some of the different things are how they do healthcare, how the people are and the price of living.
“College here is easier compared to back at home,” Dance said. “The assignments are easier and the grading is easier too, here.”
The relationships with people are stronger in the U.S., according to Dance, and that is what she likes about being here. Friends mean a lot to her and she is thankful for her strong friendships. Dance said that the people are nicer though back home in Australia. The scenery is also another advantage of her home country. However, Dance said that there are things that she likes about both countries, so her decision is even about her thoughts on which country is better.
Dance is a senior this year and her time at Missouri Western is coming to an end. What makes matter worse is that she is currently out with an injury that has kept her sidelined for weeks. The injury is a strain of the medius muscliet. This injury happened when she attempted to catch a fly ball. She is very disappointed of her injury, but is not letting it stop her from helping her teammates.
“I have never sat out a game until this year throughout my whole career and it was heart breaking,” Dance said. “Even though I’m out I still help them with their swings, collect balls when they are doing hitting practice and catch for coach.”