Once upon a time, a long, long time I ago, I was flexible. I could drop down into the splits position at any time and prided myself that I could go from side splits to middle splits in one fluid motion. Now, light years have passed and I’m lucky if I can get into a decent straddle during a pre-workout stretch!
I tell you this because I was recently awestruck when Debbie Castriano posted a picture on Facebook of her daughter Ali in the splits position. I know Ali, so the splits position wasn’t the surprise of the photo, but instead it was because she was doing the splits on the softball field!
Yes, you read right. Ali utilized her awesome gymnastics abilities on the field to make a perfect play on first base. Who knew that participating in both sports would be beneficial to one another?
Ali is a busy girl. Amongst other things, she volunteers, is a National Honor Society member, plays on the Stevenson softball team and summer softball travel team and is an incredible gymnast on the Stevenson gymnastics team.
She says of the two, “My true love is gymnastics because of all the different challenges it brings me everyday. I love that it is an individual sport and a team sport all centered around goals.” She explained that utilizing goals during practices and competitions helps relieve the girls of the pressure and nerves they feel during competitions. “When you are the only one performing during a meet, being nervous or lacking confidence can hurt your performance.”
Ali’s freshman year, SHS won the state championship as a team. Sophomore year, she took home the state title individually for the balance beam.
She does enjoy softball as well and started playing when she was six. The team spirit of the game is something Ali believes in. She loves how the girls all have to rely on each other to be a success. Junior year, Ali was named an all-conference player. Ali said that the weather's unpredictable nature is what bothers her most about the game. Sometimes they’re layering up and then in the summer they’re battling the heat along with their opponents.
As far as Ali’s future, she thinks she’s ready to put away the bat and glove. However she remains undecided about gymnastics and will chose her college academically first and then see if there is an option of competing at that school.
It’s a great attitude for a kid who puts it all out there for her sports. The year she won state on beam, she played knowingly with a torn meniscus and had the reparation surgery only a few days after the competition. Is anyone thinking of Keri Strug right now?
As always, email me with any news, topics or ideas that you want to read about. Remember, I’d like to be the first to know! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.