This month’s Community Hero is Catherine “Cat” Eastmond, although those in the business world know her better by her maiden name of Daniels which she uses professionally. Currently serving as the host city director for the Amateur Sports Alliance of North America’s (ASANA) Softball World Series being held next month in Austin, Cat says that over the years “I’ve made countless friends and memories at series thanks to the hard work of some very dedicated volunteers. This year I’m excited to showcase the great city of Austin and make sure everyone has a fantastic series!”
Serving as assistant commissioner for Softball Austin’s women’s division, in 2016 she was inducted into Softball Austin’s Hall of Fame for all her many efforts. Cat is also a member of the Austin Women’s Kickball Association and has served as president of the Central Texas Kickball Association.
Although she was born in Carrollton, Texas, by age three the family moved to Farmington Hills, Michigan outside of Detroit due to her dad’s job transfer. After college, in 2005 the Texas gal moved back to Austin even though she didn’t know anyone in the area. But what better way to meet people than to join a sports team. “I saw an ad in the Gay Place in the Austin Chronicle for Softball Austin, our local LGBTQ league and thought it would be a good way to meet people.”
She’s been here 12 years, saying that “Almost every person I’ve met and befriended over the years is somehow connected to the softball league.” Describing Austin as a very open city, Cat says “I play in both the gay league and straight co-ed leagues, and with our beautiful weather you can play 362 days a year (we take Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s off, of course.”)
Cat first played on a Softball Austin D division team named the “Closers” after arriving in Austin. Later founding the Love Monkeys, first an open division team in 2007 and later an inaugural women’s division team in 2012, she has served as Softball Austin’s delegate to the ASANA organization since 2010, representing Austin as a member of ASANA’s ethics and IOG committee. During her role as the first women’s division commissioner for Softball Austin, she successfully bid for the 2017 ASANA World Series in Austin.
Standing just 4-foot-10, it’s evident that Cat isn’t afraid to take on big challenges, proving that good things often do come in small packages. When asked about challenges she’s overcome, Cat says it is “Hosting back-to-back World Series [in Austin] (2016 NAGAAA World Series and 2017 ASANA World Series) has been exhausting. I’m extremely grateful for all the amazing people and generous support of the Austin community.” This year marks the 10th anniversary of the ASANA World Series and its estimated city-wide economic impact to Austin stands at $1.5 million dollars based on an expected number of over 1,500 players, coaches and fans planning to attend.
Growing up Cat played hockey, basketball and softball although she dropped basketball once she quit growing and the other kids didn’t. Her dad started her in baseball at age six and says “his advice was crouch low so I didn’t have a strike zone – and I played that in both middle school and high school for Detroit Country Day Schools. I made the varsity team my freshman year, and over the next four years played left field, catcher and third base.”
And thanks to working at the 2011 ASANA World Series in Philadelphia, she met her wife, Winter. As a friend of a friend, after hearing about the tournament being in town, Winter stopped in at a party and to quote Cat, “the rest is history 😉 There’s an earthquake, Hurricane Irene, and a six-month long distance relationship in there, too. She moved to Austin in 2012 and we married in NYC in 2014.” But the icing on the cake for a softball lover like Cat? “Winter is a genuine softball bad-ass. After we first met I went to one of her co-ed games in Philadelphia. When she got up to bat all the male outfielders backed up the fence. I was like, ‘wow, who is this woman?’
“I found out later that Winter was LaSalle University’s starting shortstop and had played on travel and elite softball teams her entire life. She’s an incredibly patient teacher and a wonderful student of the game.” Cat also notes that “my batting average has improved noticeably since we married 😉 We both love sports and that’s one of the cornerstones of our relationship. You should see our house during the Olympics.”
So congratulations to you, Cat Eastmond for all the work you do with Softball Austin’s LGBTQ and ally teams, ASANA and the City of Austin to promote sports diversity. You are truly a community hero!
Cat Daniels Eastmond
Azure Partner Channel Development Manager, Microsoft
Sports: Softball, Kickball
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