Every athlete dreams of meeting an Olympian one day and that is no different for the members of the Central Baptist College softball team… except their dreams came true.
On October 15-16, the team got to spend two days with four Olympic softball athletes. The softball women helped coach a camp full of young women next to softball idols Jennie Finch, Crystl Bustos, Toni Mascarenas and Andrea Duran.
The Jennie Finch camp was held in Bishop Park in Bryant run by junior Hunter Clark’s parents, which is how the team was chosen to help. More than a hundred girls, from ages 8 to 16, came to take instruction from the team and the Olympians. Some traveled from Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. The looks on the faces of the girls showed how the long drives were worth it.
Junior Hunter Clark has played softball since she was four years old and had been a camper herself when she was 10 at this very same camp. She said that meeting Finch was much better the second time around.
“I felt like I could appreciate her so much more and really take more from what she was saying to me!” Clark said. She admitted to probably being as excited as the campers to meet Finch.
“Jennie talked to me on a personal level and asked about my summer and was actually interested in how it went,” Clark said.
Clark said the four Olympians were very involved in the camp, and that all of their personalities were real.
“They didn’t put on a show for anyone, they were just themselves and talked to people as much as they could,” said Clark.
Clark said she learned more being on the coaching side of the camp with getting to understand the drills and why they are done. “They camp was such an amazing experience and opportunity that God gave us, and I am so blessed to be a part of this team.”
Aleighu Porterfield is a freshman who started playing softball when she was 10. Out of the four Olympians, she was most excited to meet Crystl Bustos.
“I have met her several times before, but this was different because I would actually be getting to spend time with her and it wouldn’t be me just standing in a line to get her autograph.” Porterfield said.
Porterfield said she looked up to Bustos because she is the best hitter in the world. However, she said that when she was younger she also looked up to Finch.
“I looked up to Jennie because of her personality and her love for Christ. I loved how she would share her faith through softball,” said Porterfield.
Porterfield says getting to learn from professionals and getting to coach next to them has cemented her mind for what she wants to do in her future as a coach.
“They trusted us to help and actually instruct campers. This has put more experience under my belt for my future job and to coach next to Crystl Bustos and Jennie Finch was such an honor,” she says.
Emails from parents of the campers have been floating in to head coach Kristen Drage commending the players and the coaches for their work with the girls and their dedication to the game.
This just goes to show, no matter how old a girl is or how long she has played the game, she is still that same little girl looking up to her idols at heart.
Photo submitted by CBC softball team