Runnning towards the State Qualifier flag, the Softball team celebrated after beating DCG.
Runnning towards the State Qualifier flag, the Softball team celebrated after beating DCG.
Photo by Shelley Hansen

5th Season Seniors

Being sanctioned in 1957 by the IGHSAU and the only state in the nation that plays in the summer, softball was and still is a widely popular sport for many young girls. However, in recent years those numbers have begun to dwindle for the Tiger softball team as a result of the long summers. Only girls in Iowa have to dedicate their time during the summer to softball even though they may have injuries or commitments to other sports. Because of this, the team has a lower number of seniors because they graduate before their season even starts.

While talking to the members of both the graduating class of 2024 and the softball team, opinions were shared about their participation in the sport and their thoughts on Iowa summer softball. These members are Kaylee Smith, Cameran Smith and Olivia Wyant.

“I play softball because my mom played college softball so she started me and my siblings in the sport from a young age and we’ve just followed in her footsteps. It’s always been an expectation to play,” said Cameran Smith when asked about why she plays.

Following the same prompt Wyant said, “I have 3 older sisters that had play so I also kind of followed in their footsteps and played from T-ball until now.”

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All 3 girls are 4-5 year varsity players who have been playing since childhood; however, with graduation near and “senioritis” in full effect, how are their season and motivation affected?

“It is hard because I don’t have academic commitments anymore until the fall which makes it difficult at times to want to be back at the school and show up. But in the end, if you love the sport, it doesn’t really matter because you’re going to have fun at practices, games and just being with your friends,” said Kaylee Smith on how the season will be challenging for her after graduating.

“I think it’s a lot of commitment, yes, but I also think that all the girls who go for softball have a reason for doing so. They like the sport that they play so everyone’s best friends during the season and everyone is having fun so it doesn’t really matter. It’s about the people we’re surrounded with,” noted Cameran Smith.

We all want to be here. The practices are not like any other sports practice just because you’re not going 100% all the time, you still have that time to be social and have fun but still get your work done.

— Olivia Wyant

Overall, they all noted how although graduating and still having a summer commitment can be challenging, the benefits from having that last season with friends and playing the sport they love make it worth it. Lastly, they spoke about how Iowa playing in the summer has effects on both their viewpoints of the sport and the participation and growth of the sport.

Cameran Smith talked about how having multiple experiences with the seasons gives her insight.

“I actually used to play in Minnesota and they played in the spring. A lot more people went out due to the different seasons with soccer being in the fall in comparison to what the seasons are here. I feel like a lot more people would go out in a different season because you have to have the commitment to the sport and like the sport to dedicate your summer to it which is that free time from school.”

Wyant Agreed. “I feel like we would have a lot more support from the community just because during the summer, a lot of students go off on their own and don’t feel obligated to go to the school for a game. I think it would bring in a lot more student support.”

Lastly, Kaylee Smith shares some optimism about the rest of the summer season.

I look at it as I get the whole day off then I get to go play softball. I see it as a positive thing.

— Kaylee Smith

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