By Adam Bernstein
The Lady Rebels softball team used to joke that it was “cursed”: Although the season would start off strong, the team would see its record—along with its hopes of making the playoffs—crumble and fall apart during the latter part of the season.
If there was indeed a prior curse on the team, it was definitely lifted this year. Unlike in previous years, this year the team was able to keep its initial winning streak alive throughout the entire regular season with 12 wins and zero losses.
Historically, it is rare that South has a varsity team finish in first. It is even rarer for a team to go undefeated. This year’s team was able to defeat the odds and be successful on both fronts. Its 12 and 0 record secured them the number one spot in their division and an automatic playoff berth.
According to senior co-captain and starting first baseman Lily Kimmel, these wins came down to two important qualities—hard work and dedication. Kimmel said that her favorite part of this year’s team was “how much everyone care[d].” She said, “Everyone always work[ed] hard to play their best and try to improve their game.”
Their work ethic, dedication, and determination were evident in the team’s third regular season game against rival Freeport. Freshman Paden Dvoor described the Freeport girl’s softball team as the Rebels’ biggest competition this year. Freeport, a perennial powerhouse in the division, gives South a run for their money whenever they play one another.
During that game, South was losing going into the third inning but then came back to take the lead. Kimmel vividly recalls that game because of the constant shift of emotions that went along with it. She said, “We were losing into the third inning, and the other team was doing a lot of cheering and taunting. We were able to come back and gain a huge lead, and the other team was completely silent for the rest of the game.”
On-field play isn’t the only measure of success in a season: Success is also based on the strength of the relationships among teammates and generally how enjoyable the season is for the athletes. This season was a success by these standards as well.
Dvoor said that her favorite part of being on the team was that it enabled her to form “close and personal relationships” with other members. She appreciated that they were able to bond over what happened on the field and in their everyday lives.
Both Kimmel and Dvoor enjoyed the bus rides because they thought that they were the best times for the members of the team to become acquainted with one another. For them, it was a highlight of the season.
Kimmel said, “Everyone was always talking and laughing and having an all around great time [during the bus rides]. It was great to have that time to celebrate every victory.” The season ended as a major success. Not only did the team make the playoffs, but they also were undefeated throughout their entire season.