Lotte Sjulin distinctly remembers the phone call when she committed to being a Husker. It was a proud and exciting, albeit nerve-wracking, moment. But it wasn’t without a little embarrassment.
“I was very, very nervous as this was a big step in my life,” Sjulin said of that call to Nebraska Assistant Coach Diane Miller. “I had a little dinosaur coin machine in my room that when you put the money in its mouth it falls into the ‘belly’ and makes a loud noise.
“While I was on the phone with Coach Miller, I started thinking of things I could do to take my mind off of its racing thoughts. I stumbled upon a pile of coins, and I decided that I should put them into my dinosaur bank. I started putting coins in the dinosaur not thinking that Coach Miller could hear anything I was doing. About three coins in, she asked me if I had just won the lottery. I was so embarrassed and didn’t know what to say. I simply said, ‘I’m sorry coach, I am just really nervous, and this is a really exciting phone call for me.
“We ended up talking for awhile longer, and I committed to play softball for the Huskers.”
While Miller was surprised at the noises coming from the other end of the phone, she wasn’t surprised at Sjulin’s nervousness.
“I could tell by talking to her that she was nervous, but what I was trying to do was to make it just chit-chat,” Miller said. “I remember hearing this noise in the background. It would always happen when I was talking. I could tell something was on her mind, and I was trying to make the conversation so it would ease her mind.”
Miller had come to know Sjulin well, as she had been a regular at Nebraska’s camps for years. Miller knew, for example, that Sjulin was very intelligent. She knew Sjulin planned to attend medical school, so Miller wasn’t sure if softball was in Sjulin’s future.
“She had mentioned that she wanted to go to Nebraska, and both her parents graduate from Nebraska,” Miller said. “We got the feeling that she was leaning our way, but at the same time, based on what Lotte wants to do (become a neo-natologist), I didn’t know if playing softball was something she was really wanting to do.
“By her junior year, she was starting to spend a lot of time on softball and then it became apparent that this was something that she really had a passion for.”
Miller describe Sjulin as a serious person, but one who can also lighten things up. For an example of that, one need look no further than Sjulin’s earliest softball memory.
“During coach-pitch, one day I spent the whole game in center field catching butterflies and practicing my gymnastics routine by doing cartwheels,” she said.
As she got older, softball became more serious to her.
“I think during high school, particularly my freshman year, was when I realized I wanted to play softball in college,” she said. “I have two moments in which I could say I felt my dream becoming real. My first moment was getting to play high school ball, and my second moment was when my teammates started committing and fulfilling their dream. The second moment was really special because they were the ones who put this dream into perspective for me.”
Sjulin, an Omaha native, played her high school ball for Douglas County West/Concordia. She was a Class B all-state honoree as a senior, when she batted .444. Following her senior season, Sjulin was selected to participate in the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Game.
She had no desire to realize her softball dream any place other than Nebraska. After all, she feels like she’s been a Husker for most of her life.
“I have been around the program for as long as I can remember, and the coaches will attest to that fact,” Sjulin said. “I have been coming to camps and such since I was really little. It was always my dream to be a Husker so once it officially became an option there was no way I could turn down such an awesome opportunity and an awesome group of people.”
Now that she’s here, Sjulin couldn’t imagine it being any better.
“I love the feeling here,” she said. “All of the girls are so sweet, and I have a bond with each one of them. I thought I would miss home but the people here have made it feel like home.”
As a freshman, Sjulin aims to embrace whatever role she has and be a team player.
“My goal is to help the team in any way possible,” she said. “I hope to play my role, whatever it may be, to the best of my ability and give it 110 percent all of the time because every role is important. I hope to never be out-hustled or out-hearted because those are two things I have control over at all times.”
Sjulin’s selfless attitude comes as no surprise to Husker Head Coach Rhonda Revelle, who was drawn to Sjulin’s work ethic and team-first mentality when she attended Nebraska’s camps.
“She was always that kid saying ‘whatever you want me to do coach,’” Revelle said. “She has a really good personality as far as being a team player. I remember thinking even when she was young that Lotte could bring a lot of good things to our team. She’s willing to go the extra mile and do whatever the team needs.
“We’re very happy to have Lotte as a Husker.”
Three Things You Didn’t Know About Lotte
1) If I was not on the softball team, I would be a member of the marching band playing the piccolo.
2) I have been skydiving and landed on the beach in Mexico.
3) I graduated in a class of 46 students, and I was a member of every club my school had to offer besides the three that conflicted with other clubs.