Running was the only sport that I was good at growing up.
In the fourth grade, our elementary school started a running club called Land Sharks where we practiced a few days after school on an old dirt track and we competed against other schools at different meets around the area.
It was a way for my parents to keep me active since I failed at tee-ball, soccer, volleyball and swimming. I decided I was better off watching sports from behind a screen rather than on a field or on a court.
My family attended multiple Colorado Rockies games, where I developed a love for the sport of baseball. I played the game Backyard Baseball on the computer and watched games, learning about the sport and the players.
Today, I get to stream the Rockies games or listen to them on the radio.
While I knew I could never play, I always hoped I would become a baseball broadcaster or journalist someday. Hopefully, all that listening and watching has paid off.
I continued running in middle school and eventually joined the varsity cross country team when I entered high school.
My first year of high school, our team was small — just 10 girls competing, as we were a brand-new high school.
Running became something that kept me in shape as well as something I loved socially.
Our coach had run locally in high school and in college for the University of Colorado, one of the top programs in the nation. She pushed us to run in tough meets with schools that had been state contenders.
She got us to run in the off-season, early in the mornings in the summer to beat the heat.
Little did I know, I would have to adjust my running schedule around the Texas heat, even hotter and more humid.
My best friends were on the cross country team. We had inside jokes, we ate our weight in pasta every night before a meet and we even crammed 12 people into a mini-van for an off-campus practice. (But don’t tell my parents that.)
My freshman year, I was selected an alternate runner for our state team. I wasn’t quite fast enough to run that year but I got to enjoy the experience with my teammates.
Another girl, Jordan, and I spent time making signs and scoping out the best places to stand on the course so we could cheer on our team.
As my high school years continued, the team continued to get better, making appearances at state.
My senior year, I didn’t make the state team but instead offered to drive my teammates to watch the state meet. We again made signs and stood throughout the course to cheer on our team.
Those are some of my favorite high school memories.
When I became a reporter at the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, I had the chance to cover high school teams including, volleyball, girls’ basketball and softball.
I have the chance to watch games, learn about the players and take photos of them.
I enjoy getting to know players from behind the camera lens, capturing celebrations of their victories and sadness with their losses.
Many of these players may not know me or even notice me, but I’ve always been there, watching and supporting them.
Last week, I attended the University Interscholastic League Class 4A State Softball Tournament in Austin.
When we got to Red and Charline McCombs Field at the University of Texas, I was flooded with memories of being in a similar situation in my high school days. I even got nervous for the players, much like I felt at the starting line before a meet.
I watched as friends, families and the community of Fredericksburg came out in support of a team who made a historic playoff run.
I cheered with them, from behind my camera lens, through every strikeout, every pitch and through their trophy celebration.
I watched as players hugged and cried together, much like I had done in my high school cross country days. I watched as seniors saw their season come to a close, something that is an all too familiar and bittersweet feeling.
High school sports teach many lessons.
Athletes learn how to work with others who are different. They learn how to work with a team. They learn how to compete, how to win and how to lose.
Athletes can develop life-long friendships and in some cases, hobbies that can continue into adulthood.
For any FHS softball players reading this, keep up with it, know it doesn’t have to be over. Find leagues in college or in whatever community is around you. Just because high school is over, it doesn’t mean the love of the game is.
Congratulations, FHS! Thank you for allowing me to tell stories this season and reminding me that you are never too old to do something you love.