Picture this: It’s warm Saturday in late January and you’re playing in the U15 State Championships for Frankston against three very competitive teams in Werribee, Sunbury and Northern District. Your team has just gotten its first taste of victory with a win, and you’ve only been playing softball for half a season.
For talented 12-year old Daniel Whitney-Turner and 11-year old Levi Churchill, that is their reality.
Introduced to softball through the Sporting Schools program at their school in 2017, Daniel and Levi found themselves captivated by a sport they could only describe as “fun”, “speedy” “supportive” and “exciting”.
“The kids felt good about how they were progressing after each of the [Sporting Schools] clinic sessions and combining that with the training we did for district [school] softball, it all just took off from there,” their former teacher, Carolyn Campbell said.
Realising Daniel and Levi’s natural ability, Carolyn encouraged them to give club level competition a try at local club, the Berwick Braves.
“I invited all of the kids who tried out for our district softball team at Berwick Fields to come down and try…Dan and Levi were the two that really wanted to try to take their softball further and were really interested in developing their skills,” she said.
A ‘come and try’ day led to the duo joining a mixed team at the Berwick Braves, and by January they had taken themselves all the way to the U15 Boys State Championships.
“It was an amazing opportunity to play in an event like [State Championships], and I learnt lots of new skills through it which I was able to take with me to my current club,” Daniel said.
With their sights set on winning this season’s finals and one-day representing Victoria among other things, the duo say that they are striving to understand more of the game and play as much softball as they can.
“I want to show boys that it isn’t just a girl’s game, both boys and girls can play,” Levi said.
Although Daniel and Levi are just two kids that have been inspired by the possibilities softball offers them by the Sporting Schools Program, Carolyn believes the program positively impacted all the students.
“Having Shane Goodall come to do clinics at the school for softball was really great because the kids got to see someone who was really passionate about the sport and someone who was really encouraging.”
For more information on how your school can participate in Softball through the Sporting Schools program, head to http://www.softball.org.au/sporting-schools-landing/