By Evie Nowicki
EMS Press
Traverse City East MS
1st Place Division MS, News Writing
Sports Feature Story

JUDGING CRITERIA

  • Lead captures attention, arouses curiosity
  • Emphasizes new element,fresh angle
  • Colorful, lively presentation; effective form/style
  • Reflects adequate research,sound interviewing techniques
  • Avoids summaries of published materials
  • Effective use of facts/quotes
  • Interesting; appeals to the emotions
  • Proper diction/grammar

The first time I heard the crack of the bat, the adrenaline and excitement I felt as a five-year-old was enough to carry me through the next eight years… and I’m hoping forever. In my kindergarten year, I was young and eager and willing to do anything my best friends were doing. At the time, there was a signup sheet through Traverse Area Girls Softball that my friends and I were itching to join. Little did I know, softball would be more than a game. It gave me the confidence I have in my life today, on and off the field. As I continued to play, my love for the game became more about the sport itself rather than just being with my friends. By sixth grade, I knew I wanted a higher level of competition, so I started playing travel softball. The competitiveness increased and so did the coaches’ demands. There were higher expectations. More practice time and conditioning, including in the off season, was mandatory. At first, I was taken aback by that level of intensity, but now, it is routine. As I pushed myself harder, my level of confidence got grittier and grittier. I started calling out the plays on the field and picking up my team when they got down. When I stepped foot on the field, I was a leader.. Being a travel softball player calls for a lot of time away from my family and friends. When summertime hits and the tournaments start, I barely have any time at home with the ones I love. After every game, texts and calls fill my phone with invitations to hang out and the answer is often, “Sorry, I have softball.” As much as I like to be with my friends, my commitment to softball is stronger. Pushing myself to get better at something I love and being accountable as a teammate has given me a great deal of confidence. When the crowd roars as my team walks on the field, I know my hours of practice will show in the game. When the first pitch is thrown, and the bat crosses the plate, adrenaline bubbles up inside me. I stand tall and proud every time I am on the field, knowing I’m in control. I play softball with pride and the kind of swag that never happens anywhere else. The game of softball has given me so much. I now carry the grit off the field and am willing to try new things, push myself in school, be a trusted friend, respectful daughter, and supporting sister. This confidence I have as I face my everyday life is directly a result of the game. Softball is the outlet, but I have the ability. I can change the outcome of the game and I can change the outcome of my life. IIf I work and stay dedicated and focused, the sky’s the limit.