Softball captains combine different styles of leadership

Meghan Kennedy, Staff Writer

She’s the leader of the infield. She’s the lead-off hitter. She’s the shortstop. She’s senior Maddie Garton.
She’s quiet. She’s intimidating. She’s the center fielder. She’s senior Kylie Tanner.
She’s vocal. She’s calming. She’s the second baseman. She’s senior Becca McDonald.
Varsity coach Stephanie Chomicki said she chose each of the three co-captains for their ability to connect with teammates.
“They’re four-year letter winners, and they all bring something different,” she said. “They need to communicate well, be motivators and, most importantly, lead by example. They know what that’s like. They have all been on varsity for four years, and they’ve been through that experience. They all bring something unique and different, and we look up to them for that.”
McDonald said each captain brings her own leadership style to the team.
“I am more vocal,” she said. “If we’re getting down in a game, I usually call a timeout, calm everyone down and get our spirits up. Kylie is more quiet and leads by example, and Maddie is a little bit of both. We all three try to lead by example so the freshmen will know how to be leaders when they are seniors.”
Garton said the captains are responsible for keeping everyone set on the end goal.
“I just try to make sure everyone stays focused and gets done what is needed to get done in order to win,” she said. “I try to get everyone to stay on task. We can all have fun as long as we get the job done. That’s the most important. I’m not as vocal. I don’t like telling people what to do — I’m pretty quiet about it.”
Tanner said a leader needs to be reliable in a game and a role model for the team.
“I have my own leadership in the outfield,” she said. “I’m a more quiet leader. I expect people to know what they’re doing. I’m more of an outfield leader, and Becca and Maddie are more infield. We are also the top three in the lineup because Chomicki knows we’ll always get hits.”
Chomicki said she trusts the captains to lead the team when she isn’t there.
“They take charge and lead the team in warm ups — they make sure no one is slacking and everyone is giving 100 percent effort,” she said. “With any other team, I don’t think I would be able to hand the reins over to the captains. This group of girls takes the game seriously, and they want to win. They know we have really high expectations this year.”
Tanner said the leadership is more evenly distributed with three captains, compared to having only one captain last year.
Garton said even though captains are supposed to remain calm during games, it’s hard to keep her cool on the field.
“When someone makes an error in such a basic play or when someone strikes out, it’s so hard not to be negative,” she said. “We may want to say something, but we’ve just got to keep a smile on our face and tell them ‘Good job’ or ‘Good try.’ When the captains are nervous and tense, it just makes the whole team tight. But when we’re loose and confident, it calms everyone else down.”
McDonald said it is important for captains to get the job done without being controlling and demanding.
“I think, with the different leadership ways of each captain, it allows our teammates to understand what needs to be done,” she said. “I think it’s the best leadership we’ve had on the team so far because we’ve all had so much experience from starting all as freshmen and learning from the upperclassmen.”
Chomicki said she is grateful for the captains’ leadership on and off the field.
“Last year, we only had one senior who led us in all categories,” she said. “She was a great leader in the infield and the outfield, as well. These girls have completely taken over her role. That’s made such a big difference. We would be lost without our captains and seniors. They keep us together and take their role seriously. The underclassmen look up to them. They’re great role models.”