There is a lot of excitement for this summer’s Rio Olympic games, but one Rockford resident is already looking past Rio ahead to the next summer games in Tokyo in 2020. That’s because Eleni Polites received a surprising email back in December.
“I was just kind of scrolling through my emails and I got an email from a guy and I got an email from the head softball coach Jimmy Kolates, and it said Greek National Team,” says Polites.
The email was an offer to play for the Greek National Softball team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It was an email Polites never dreamed of getting.
“No, not really,” says Polites. “I mean I always feel guilty because I help coach girls and they have this life long dream to even just playing college athletics and playing division one softball. So it’s kind of crazy to see someone that sees my potential in playing in an Olympics setting.”
Polites is Greek on both her mother and father’s side. She lives in Rockford now, but she is from Cary, Illinois. She played high school softball at Cary-Grove, then went on to play ball at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her senior year at UIC her batting average jumped more than 100 points to .318. Right now Polites plays for her company’s rec team. She says playing for her native land is a tremendous honor.
Softball isn’t an Olympic sport this year and Polites was holding her breath last week when the International Olympic committee voted on whether or not to reinstate the sport for 2020. It did, so Polites could very well be on her way to Tokyo in four years.
Polites love of softball will never go away.
“I’m a ball player. I just want to play the game. So whether it’s playing to Tokyo, whether it’s playing rec slowpitch, whatever it is, I’m just honestly happy to be out on the field.”