Most of Patrick Murphy’s meetings in March and April lacked suspense.

When the University of Alabama’s softball coach approached his seven seniors with the NCAA’s extra season of eligibility granted after the 2020 season was canceled, most of them had already made up their minds to come back if they could. UA didn’t announce the mass retention until May 4, but most of them made their decisions long before that.

Krystal Goodman is the exception.

Goodman had more than her (quite strong) desire to continue playing softball to consider. She had already accepted a graduate assistant position as an assistant sports information director at a university in Illinois, starting in the fall. She was forced into the decision that many spring sport athletes had to weigh: do I start my career as planned, or do I delay it for one more season?

“When I weighed out everything and I looked at what I can do here and trying to get a job after that, I figured it would be better to get that closure, to end the season on my own terms than try to start my career and never know,” she said.

With that, Goodman chose to return to UA for the 2021 season. She loves the game too much to leave it without full closure, but she does so with peace of mind that her job prospects will not dwindle in taking an extra year; she’s confident they may even grow.

“We have a huge athletic program and I want to be an SID. What better way than to shadow and intern with the sports information department here at Alabama to gain experience?” Goodman said.

While she does it, she can continue what has been a productive UA career. She went 11-1 with a 1.63 ERA in 2019, and her final start of 2020 was a complete game four-hit shutout of McNeese State. A productive career that has been too short, as Goodman sees it. She came into the program as a junior out of Chipola College and has experienced the winning ways of UA — her one full UA season to date ended in the Women’s College World Series — but she wants more than the winning.

“I was one of the fortunate ones to get my senior day before the season was canceled, and on my senior day I was so sad because I didn’t get the full experience,” Goodman said. “I didn’t get the four years, I didn’t get to know the fans at Rhoads Stadium as much as the other girls did, I didn’t get T-Town and the traditions and the cultures. I missed it, so from my senior day on, my goal was to get as much of that as I can. To get another year to do that is a blessing in disguise.

“All the little things, I wouldn’t say I took for granted, but they’re little details in the background. Getting to go to the dining hall and eat with the other athletes, being with my teammates every day, hang out in the locker room. I will never take anything like that lightly ever again after it’s been yanked like that.

“I only got two years here as a JUCO transfer, and I couldn’t see myself letting that opportunity go while I had the opportunity to maybe get another job after this, maybe a better one since I’m getting more experience while I’m here.”

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or bhudson@tuscaloosanews.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson

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