Cheer on the varsity softball team Friday, April 20 at 5 p.m. as they try to secure their third win of the season in the middle of a six-game homestand at Gateway Field (directions). The CJ Spirit Committee has selected to shine the spotlight on the girls this week, rallying support for the Eagles before their featured home game against league opponent McNicholas.
Perhaps even more deserving of praise than being the featured team of the week, however, is the players’ commitment to community service. The time the Eagles put in away from the field of play is what is setting the softball program apart, all the while bringing student-athletes together.
One week into the 2012 season, the girls decided to spend their first off-day—a Saturday—volunteering to help volunteers. On March 31, CJ teammates assisted the Moraine Fire Division in a mock tornado disaster, a drill designed to train members of the city’s new Citizen Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.).
“The C.E.R.T. members are citizens of the City of Moraine who are trained to assist emergency personnel in case of a disaster,” said head coach Dee Bowling. “The girls played ‘victims’ with specific injuries to give the C.E.R.T. graduates a realistic sense of what might happen in case of one of these disasters in the area.”
Bowling, who works as a secretary for the Moraine Fire Department when not coaching the Eagles, said Moraine Fire Chief Tony Trick formally expressed his gratitude for the girls’ participation and enthusiasm in a letter to the school. It wasn’t the first time the softball girls from CJ supplied a hand where help was needed.
Senior Sharon Reynolds said coach Bowling has made it a priority to set time aside, both in-season and during the off-season, to allow teammates an opportunity to give back throughout each of the four years she has been on the team.
“It’s like a bonding experience off the field,” said Reynolds, describing the many softball service projects she has been involved with while at CJ. Most recently, the team volunteered to serve children breakfast at the Moraine Pancakes with Prancer event in December 2011.
“I think it's good to give back to the community. They support us by coming to our games, so this is how we support them,” said Nikki Northern, a three-year varsity starter. The lesson is one of many the junior has taken to heart as a member of the softball team.
“Coach Bowling teaches us things we can use both on the field and in life,” Northern said.