It is a word that can mean many things to many people, but to the Florida State softball program, it is a foundational standard.

Along with “Smart,” “Aggressive,” “Competitive” and “Committed,” “Family” is one of the five core values that head coach Lonni Alameda has instilled in the program since her arrival in 2009.

“I feel it is important for players to be comfortable with who they are, in order to perform at their best in every aspect of being a student-athlete,” Alameda said. “By having ‘Family’ be one of our core values, it allows us to visit what makes people comfortable in different environments.

“We want them to know that we care about them as people, as we are their home away from home. The challenge of living that value, and not simply saying it, is in what family means to different people and how we can talk and learn about each other to care about and support each other in the best ways possible.”

For junior Sydney Sherrill, a native of Moore, Okla., choosing Florida State meant leaving a family that had attended nearly every game and practice throughout her childhood, but resulted in joining a new extended family with more than 20 “sisters” that spreads throughout the country.

“Family to me means just having people to go to always,” said Sherrill. “I know with softball, being so far from home, I know I’ll always have ‘Coach A’ (Lonni Alameda), ‘TWil’ (Travis Wilson), ‘TCam’ (Troy Cameron) and my teammates to always be there for me. They are my family away from home. I know my family back home is always there for me no matter what, and I’m glad that I found a family in Florida State to fill in that missing piece when I am away from Oklahoma.”

Read the entire story here