January 28, 2021 by Kevin Clow
Photos by Joshua Ross Photography
It's cold and snowing as I write this and, while it might be hard to imagine, I am hearing the crack of the bat and the cheers of families watching their girls round the bases. I am thinking fondly of last year's Division 2 & 3 Championship games. I am seeing girls that, in just a few short years, went from asking me which hand their glove went on to hoisting trophies over their heads–jumping and screaming at the top of their lungs, champions together.
I am the new president of Hingham Girls Softball (HGS) and am proud to launch our #PlayLikeAGirl campaign. I’m a softball dad through and through. I have been coaching for more than a decade, since my oldest of three girls was in kindergarten. For our family, softball has always been a huge part of our life. I don't just mean the running around from a practice to a game, back to another game (three kids in three leagues will do that!), but I'm more talking about the impact the sport has had on me personally. As a father of girls and a coach to so many, watching the journey of these girls has been a sight to behold. As players, they're learning the fundamentals of a sport. As teammates, softball is giving them far more valuable life lessons–that hard work pays off, that working together helps you reach your goals, that believing in yourself brings confidence, that helping other girls up when they fall or strike out is a gift for both of you. "Play Like A Girl" means sticking with something when it's hard and getting everyone around the bases. We are a close-knit community of volunteers, parents and their daughters. We are a place where friendships are formed, confidence is built and lasting memories are made. The girls are goofy one minute–giggling in the dugout, and downright ferocious and competitive the next. My favorite part of coaching all these years though, has nothing to do with the sport itself, rather it's watching how the girls come together for each other. Watching them assume leadership roles, and seeing firsthand what girls empowerment really means.
Just look at our Hingham Girls Softball social media pages of late. It’s full of High School girls sharing their experience of growing up with the sport. To quote a few of the girls, “I’ve been playing since kindergarten!” says Hingham High senior Mia Kourafas. “You’re never alone. Your teammates always have your back and want you to do your best.” Junior Elle Cavanaugh writes, “What I appreciate most are the friends I’ve made through the program. Softball is such a welcoming environment." And from senior Caitlin Keliher, “I have played throughout my life and loved every second of it. I have always enjoyed the competitive nature and love the sense of community.” The girls capture the spirit of the program so beautifully. Our coaches mentor kids to be strong athletes, good friends and, often, exceptional leaders–and we’d love to have your daughter join us.
These are challenging times as Covid pushes us apart physically. But softball has taken on an even deeper value for so many in our broader community. Last summer, we were able to let more than 200 girls play softball. Naturally, it looked different with all the precautions, but we pulled it off without any known incidents–not one. I have heard from countless parents who told me that softball has been the one "normal" experience their kids have had since their world was turned upside down and everything they look forward to was cancelled. Even people out for walks stopped to watch and share what joy it brought them to see our girls out having fun with their friends on the fields. So the steps we took, and continue to take for our Winter Clinics, to keep girls safe have paid off for us and everyone involved. Distancing, masks, sanitized equipment, all the sacrifices and extra work to keep cases away have been worth it. As spring approaches, we will not falter.