Softball team coaches younger girls, helps community, grows closer

Gennifer Geer, Managing Editor

Growing up, we all had our role models, whether they be parents, celebrities or superheroes.
These people led and inspired, and on April 19, Blue Valley’s varsity softball team got a chance to be those role models.
A recently resurrected tradition, Future Tiger Night welcomed 4th and 5th grade recreational teams to work with the varsity players on skills and game play.
Softball player senior Ali Jones said she helped the younger girls learn “tricks of the game.”
“They were all really sweet,” she said. “It’s like a flashback to how we were when we were their age and all excited. It’s a good little memory.”
Softball coach Stephanie Chomicki said the event’s purpose was to promote softball and encourage the younger girls to keep playing.
“Our goal is to try and get more and more girls to try out every year,” Chomicki said.
This marks Chomicki’s third year of coaching, but her first time hosting Future Tiger Night. However, senior Ashley May participated in the event her freshman year.
“It was really good that we’re bringing back that tradition,” May said. “I definitely think we’ll do it again because it was such a positive experience for the girls.”
May said she had a unique experience with taking part in the event for her bookend years.
“I got to experience it as an underclassman looking up to the upperclassmen and as a captain doing it my senior year,” she said. “It was fun to see it from two viewpoints.”
Jones said they tried to keep Future Tiger Night close to a regular practice by combining the varsity practice routine with the younger girls’ activities.
“We stretched as a team, threw as a team and everything,” she said.
The team also did its best to support the less experienced players. The JV team attended the game as “fans,” and the team gave out awards. To add to the fun, each younger girl received a personalized introduction.
“We got a fun fact about all the little kids so as they were walking up to bat, we announced what their favorite color was or whatever they wanted to say about it,” May said.
Chomicki said she had high hopes for this year and thinks it’s beneficial for the younger players.
“It’s all about having fun,” Chomicki said. “I want them to meet the girls and get to know our field.”
In order to prepare, Chomicki contacted the elementary school teams and assigned the varsity players to jobs. She said the number of people wanting to be involved made her proud.
May said the involvement in the community, in addition to her past participation interested her and made her appreciate the event. The leadership required of the players helped them to bond as a team.
“Honestly, it was probably one of the best things for our team because it drew us closer together,” she said. “I’m glad our softball program has helped out the little kids and helped make it a fun experience.”
Jones said she thinks the younger girls gained leadership skills alongside the varsity players.
“I hope they’re still competitive in all they do and be leaders on the field like we are,” she said.
The event brought the varsity girls closer as well.
“It was fun for the whole team to bond together and made it a great experience,” May said. “It shows the good the softball program does for the community.”