Jodi Cramer found her passion in life when she stepped onto the softball diamond for the first time 35 years ago at the age of eight. Cramer said she remembers the moment like it was yesterday. The smell of the fresh cut grass and being surrounded by her friends she was hooked.
“It was the first thing that ever made sense in my life. My parents had me sing in the choir at church, and I tried basketball the year before, and I liked all those things but playing softball just felt right.” Cramer said, “Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t good right from the start it took lots of practice, and tears to become successful, but man when I made contact with the ball for the first time, and throwing my first girl out at first, I knew this sport was what I was supposed to do.”
Fast forward a few years, and Cramer is in full swing of her junior high years. Cramer grew up in small town, Belmond Iowa where the softball season was in the summer, so instead of getting a new bathing suite for the year she got new softball cleats and a mitt. Growing up in the dirt gave Cramer a different attitude than most girls her age, she was tough, persevered through challenges, and loved to get dirty.
“Jodi was always a hard worker, she had a love for the game that many of her teammates did not share. Even in junior high it was special to see the attitude and passion she brought to the field, and as her coach through all those years it was awesome to see her grow and achieve new things, “ said Cramer’s junior high coach, Jim Meyers.
In high school Cramer really came into her own in the game, playing for the Belmond-Klemme Broncos, she was the starting center fielder all 4 years of high school, and even had 2 trips to the state tournament. With a couple trips to state and school records in track throughout her high school days, Cramer was known for being quick and a hustler, which only made her an even better ball player.
“My junior and senior year when the All-State honors came out I had to do a double take, I just couldn’t believe my name was on the list. I always felt undeserving like I could do better, get better, and I still feel that way today”, Cramer said.
After high school, Cramer went on to play softball at Grand View College in Des Moines, where she made a name for herself both on the softball field and the volleyball court. After only two years of playing at the higher level, she eventually hung up her cleats and put on her coaching hat when she got married and moved to Idaho with her husband.
Cramer’s next destination was Pocatello, Idaho where she became Poky High School’s head softball coach, and history teacher. The program Cramer took over was subpar, the team didn’t have a reputation, and not many girls went out for the sport. That did not stop Cramer though, after only two years she got the team’s record up to above .500. Over the next decade, she would go on to coach them to several state tournaments, and be named Idaho Coach of the Year twice.
“I always knew she had a niche for the game as a player, but her light really shown through as a coach. Seeing her instill that same passion and love for the game to her players was amazing to see and I have never been more proud of her, she is a damn good coach.” said Cramer’s mom, Donna Medina.
After coaching at Poky for 15 years, Cramer decided to move her family back to Belmond, when the head coach position for volleyball and softball opened up at her alma mater. Her first year back she took the team to the state tournament in softball.
“Belmond has gone through a handful of coaches in my time on the diamond, and I am so lucky my junior and senior year got to be with Coach Cramer, she literally made coming to practice every day fun and exciting”, said former short stop for the Broncos, Keyra Cook.
Cramer continues to coach to this day, she put away her coaching hat for a while to watch her kids play in high school, but just recently starting working with Belmond’s junior high program, and is loving every minute of it.