History is made when barriers are broken and new levels of success are achieved. This year, the 2019 Heritage softball team made history as the first team in program history to make it to regionals as final four team. When reflecting on this season, the word that comes to mind is “support.” With the support of family, friends, and most importantly, each other, the 2019 Husky Softball Team lived out the Husky Sports motto to #makehistory.
This season and every season, the main supporters of the team are our families. The support of parents, siblings, and other family members begins years before the season even starts. Family members sacrifice their time, money, and well-being by spending countless hours to help us succeed. For me, my parents buy equipment, drive me to countless hitting and pitching lessons, practices, games, and tournaments, and support me in every outcome because they are always proud when I do my best. My parents never complain about the long car rides, waking up early or staying up late to pack or to unpack, or even my frustration when I’m in a slump. This season, my parents and parents of the Heritage softball team worked without acclaim to provide team meals before games and snacks during games, work the concession stand, take photos, keep the scorebook, and scream their heads off after each play. Family members have supported us for years, and their continual support over this season was critical for the team’s success.
In addition to families, the support of the school community was also crucial. Best friends, boyfriends, family friends, and Heritage teachers and faculty supported the team unconditionally. These people had many responsibilities, but most importantly, they kept things in perspective. When our season ended, they encouraged us to hold our heads high because they were proud us. Their support was shown in different ways. Just to name a few of the team’s biggest supporters supporters, Liam Smith was the home game announcer and audio specialist, some of my closest friends from Heritage and the Wake Forest community cheered loudest in the stands, Mr. Lyons sent us off to Wilmington with his best wishes for our success, Ms. B and Ms. Mwanda rode the bus to Wilmington and supported us players like they were on the team, and many teachers congratulated the team on an amazing season. Ultimately, members of Heritage and other friends encouraged us when things don’t go as planned and were genuinely happy when things did go well, making them some of our biggest supporters.
While people outside the field provided major support for the team, none of the team’s success would have been possible without the support from the coaches and other teammates. First, the head of our team, Coach Furlough, queen of superstitions, stepped up big time to go out of her comfort zone and take on the role of head coach. Coach Furlough was the backbone of support for every player. Her belief in each player was a model for players to follow and believe in themselves. Coach Eddie has the softball brains and helped each player be the smartest baserunner and defender they could be. Coach Shea transitioned all the way from coaching softball in California to coaching in North Carolina, and she helped us show our Husky Pride.
The true Husky Pride, however, came from within the team. For over three months, every softball player gave their all at practices and games. The team’s relentless effort better defined our season than any record or single game ever could. We first supported each other to push through the pain and finish 300s and cycles while our lungs burned. Then, we supported each other to be smart baserunners with bruised shins and bloody knees. The painful times didn’t feel instantly rewarding, but they ultimately helped the team be mentally strong and unify as one support system. During games, the team supported every single batter who stepped up to the plate. The defense had “strong D” every single inning and reunited with Pinkies when the inning started getting rocky. While I am sad the season didn’t end the way the team wanted, the support from everyone made the blood, sweat, and tears worth it. Four seniors will be leaving the team, and just like past players created a winning culture for Husky Softball, we hope future Husky Softball players will keep the winning tradition alive, but most importantly, the support from former Huskies to future Huskies will remain strong because once a Husky, always a Husky.