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  • Tribute To Kandi’s Mother

  • February 27, 2013
    As University of Tampa third baseman Kandi Kuder knows, in softball and in the game of life, the ball doesn't always bounce your way.

    It all began in 2011 during Kuder's senior year at Thousand Oaks High School. As she was set to take her official visit to Stetson University in Florida with her mom and dad, the family was suddenly hit with some tragic news. Her mother, Cheryl Lynne Kuder, was diagnosed with colon cancer. The news came only months after Kuder lost her grandmother to a sudden aneurysm.

  • The doctors advised Mrs. Kuder not to travel the long flight from California to Florida, but she wasn't going to miss this. Kuder was being offered a full scholarship at an NCAA Division I school and was getting the chance to fulfill her dreams.
    "That trip was more than me just committing to school" said Kuder, "it showed me yet again how selfless my mother was. Throughout the entire trip she never once complained about being in pain, she made it all about me." Kuder ended up accepting her scholarship to play softball at Stetson.

    With her mother sick, it was important for Kuder to be strong for her family. The oldest of three, it was important for her to be a rock for her younger brother and sister, Kurtis and Kourtney.

    She also had to start doing some of the everyday things her mother used to do. She had to grow up very quickly, with new responsibilities she never had before. Learning to cook and clean, not to mention the rigorous task of scrubbing a dirty softball uniform until midnight for her game the next day.

    Kuder dedicated the rest of her senior season to her mother. Kuder and her mom had a very strong bond. "She was more than just my world; she was the heart that kept mine beating. On and off the softball field, she was my biggest fan.
    She never missed a single game," said Kuder. Even after her mother was no longer able to attend games, she was the first person she would call to tell her how she did.

  • Just three months after she was diagnosed. Cheryl Lynne Kuder lost her battle with cancer. Kuder's father, Kenny Kuder, had to break the news to his children. "You realize what you take for granted" said Kuder.

    There was a lot of pressure put on Kuder as she was getting ready go across the country, at a time that her family was in need. She had her doubts, but she knew it's what was best for her and it's what her mother would have wanted.

    Following her freshman year at Stetson, Kuder decided to transfer to Tampa after a visit to the campus. "I fell in love with the campus, and I just knew this is where I wanted to be."

  • "I just look at things in life so much differently now, hopefully I can be inspiring to others that may be in similar situations and open people's eyes to not take the everyday things in life for granted."

    Since Kuder arrived at Tampa she has truly shined as one of the team leaders in batting and accumulating a .952 fielding percentage through the first 13 games. Kuder considers softball and school as her escape from everything. She credits her father for his unlimited support and strength that keeps her moving forward.

    Through all of her hardships she has been faced with, Kuder has persevered through them all, learning to overcome the short-hops in and out of the white chalked lines of the diamond. Even after all she has been through, Kuder remains a bubbly outgoing young lady.
    You can see Kandi Kuder and the rest of Tampa's softball team this year at their new stadium, The Namoli Family Stadium, behind the Bob Martinez Sports Center. You can't miss the number 22 with her bright colored nails, big smile and non-stop chattering.

  • Call Kandi Today! (813) 785-9825