Senior Rebecca Nelson first joined a softball team as a little girl and she hasn’t stopped playing since. She first played for Seaside Softball in Oxnard before moving to the Ventura Tri-Valley League. Today, she is a third baseman for the Ventura High School softball team.
Unlike many student-athletes who have to learn to balance school and sports, Nelson has never had that problem. Instead of getting caught up in the demands of homework and softball practice, she simply goes out of her way to make time for the things she enjoys.
“If you love something enough, it’s not hard to balance it into your schedule,” she said, “even if it means staying up until two in the morning finishing homework.”
On hard days, Nelson chooses to focus on the aspects of softball she enjoys, like the family atmosphere of being on a team, rather than her stresses or frustration. She says that the other girls she plays with are “like a second family” that is “always there for you no matter where you end up.”
She chooses to move past whatever is bothering her, because she knows that one day she might not be able to play. “[I know] it won’t last forever,” she said. “Softball isn’t one of those sports you can play your whole life like swimming or running.”
Softball players often find their careers cut short by injury or not qualifying for a team at a higher level. Nonetheless, Nelson hopes she can continue to play softball in college and use a sports scholarship to help pay for the tuition.
“[Becca] has always been a super physically fit person […] and has always been really dedicated to the things she does,“ senior Charlotte Fox said.
Whether or not she does go on to play softball in college depends on if she goes to a Division I or Division II school. If she goes to a Division II school, Nelson plans to try out as a “walk on” or without being recruited directly by the team beforehand.
If she goes to a Division I school, she says she probably won’t try out as a walk-on because Division I schools are more likely to give out scholarships, but don’t take as many walk-ons.
For now, Nelson’s goal is to increase her batting average to a .500, meaning she will get on base 50 percent of the time. She says she pushes herself because she is a perfectionist who wants to someday have a perfect batting average.
“It pushes me to make sure I’m performing my best,” Nelson said.
Nelson hopes that any little girl thinking about learning to play softball would “just go for it” and not let anything deter them. Not even third base coaches who give “non-stop hitting advice,” her pet peeve.
“Softball is extremely fun and I love being a part of something that makes me happy,” Nelson said, “[You have to] be tough, [and not] let people talk down to you.”