Working Hard, Playing Harder


Lyn Kress

Softball at Rock Island High School is a community akin to family. They are a support system for each other, even when times are rough. And, being in high school, things can get tough relatively quickly. It’s important for the team to pick each other up when they see one of their own slipping.

For right-fielder Amalia Serrano, she often finds herself focused hard on both softball and school simultaneously. Enrolled in multiple AP classes, she spends a lot of time regulating her time. “I would say that it is important to communicate to your teachers when you need help with your work, and be observant when you do have time to get work done.” While doing well in school and sports can tend to lead to a bit of sacrificing, Serrano is willing to take that risk when she stays up later and uses her free time on work rather than recreational activities. 

Regardless of how much a person is succeeding, any lack of free time can overwhelm a student or player very easily. Serrano, when seeing other teammates struggling, knows the best thing to do is to help them up and to move on from the mistake. Rock Island’s Softball Coach, Julie Hudnall, acknowledges that building relationships in the team can be one of the most important tasks, for this reason. The more people you have in your line of support, the more people you have to pick you up on a bad day. 

Coach Hudnall understands the importance of balancing the heavy schedules of her players. “I feel like our girls can handle a heavy schedule pretty well, although I try to keep the communication lines open so that if an athlete is feeling overwhelmed, they can have a conversation with me or another coach on staff,” she explains. Hudnall values the mental, physical, and emotional health of all of her players, and makes sure that this is obvious to them with each practice and game. “We talk about taking care of ourselves at the end of practice. We are each other’s biggest fans,” Hudnall states.