Courtesy of Avi Grant
When you think of a typical WCHS spring sport, lacrosse, tennis or baseball may come to mind. However, with a co-ed team that unites to value teamwork and team spirit over individual statistics and results, one spring sport is unlike the rest: allied softball.
Allied softball is playing its fourth season at WCHS and is rapidly gaining popularity among students. With practices twice a week and about seven games during the season, allied softball is perfect for students who want to join a sport, but may not have as much time as other sports require.
“Allied softball has definitely become a larger team over the past few years and we have all learned from each other,” senior Avi Grant said. “It’s a ton of fun and we have an awesome team.”
According to head coach and AP Psychology and AP World History teacher Christopher Forney, the team could barely field the required eight players when it first was created at WCHS. This year, the team has 30 players and Forney must find playing time for each player.
In addition to allowing students the flexibility of a more lenient schedule, allied softball is comprised of a majority of players who have never played softball before, which allows students to try something new. It also gives players the opportunity to hang out with people they might not normally be with during the school day.
“Being on the team is so fun because I get to spend time with a lot of people that I don’t normally see during the school day,” senior Lauren Hando said. “My favorite part about allied softball is definitely befriending people that I don’t have classes with or talk to on a daily basis.”
Each member of the team is able to make an impact, regardless of their age or experience level. A highlight of many team members’ experiences was the team’s first win in history against Rockville High School two seasons ago.
“We all contribute to the team and learn a lot from each other,” Hando said. “I’m looking forward to playing in games with my team and hopefully getting a win.”
It seems as though everyone on the team is appreciative of the bonds created with people they normally would not be spending time with. It also gives the students a chance to interact with Forney, who they would usually only see in a classroom setting.
“My favorite part about coaching is you get to work with students outside of the classroom,” Forney said. “With this sport in particular, students who likely wouldn’t encounter one another during their day at Churchill wind up building relationships with each other. That’s really unique and a lot fun to be a part of.”
In addition, many of the players cited a positive atmosphere as their favorite aspect of allied softball.
According to Forney, all of the players have a unique impact on the team, but he specifically noted seniors Manuel and Emilio Bello, Avi Grant, Julia Greenberg, Jennifer Santoni, Stephanie Santoni and Ariel Derby who have supported the team since its first year.
The team comes together not only for practices and games, but also as a space where every player can feel comfortable and feel like they have a place.
“I love how this team encourages one another, is able to laugh at mistakes and really enjoys the time they have together,” Forney said. “I can’t overemphasize how this is a collection of really solid people and I’m proud to be able to say I’m their coach.”