Co-Captain Gracie Flanagan ’21 first began playing softball when she was four years old and with her parent’s support, she developed a love for the sport from a young age. Now, over a decade later, Flanagan is still playing the sport and was chosen to serve as a Co-Captain of Andover Softball.
According to Flanagan, the community the sport fosters is what helped kindle her love for softball and kept her engaged throughout the years.
Flanagan said, “My favorite aspect of softball is how strong the sense of team is. Teamwork is key in a sport like softball, so bonding with fellow teammates is a really fun and important part of the sport.”
Flanagan’s dedication to her teammates manifests itself in her leadership and the effect she has on those around her, according to teammate Kylie Frank ’22.
Frank said, “She’s very outgoing, very ‘Let me help you,’ and ‘How are you?’ that type of thing. I think that’s important in sports, just to have someone that’s there and not all about themselves.”
According to Flanagan, these qualities of selflessness and camaraderie are what she values most as a captain. Whether it be on or off the field, Flanagan aims to display these traits in her support of her teammates.
Flanagan said, “I really value not only my own success but the success of my teammates as well. Whether it be providing support, or just cheering the other girls on, I think that I am a good leader because I’m able to be a caring and encouraging presence on the team.”
According to Flanagan, she is always working to improve upon the atmosphere of the team and is thankful to have such meaningful bonds with the other girls on the team.
Flanagan said, “[The Andover Softball team] is such an amazing group of girls that I wouldn’t trade for the world. The energy in the dugout, on the field, and even during practice is always high, which keeps all of us motivated. We also spend time getting to know each other and bond. My best upperclassmen friends I met through softball, and I am very grateful to have such an amazing team.”
Although she is not on campus this season, Flanagan is still doing her best to stay connected with the team and has been actively participating in whatever way she can. Co-Captain Katie Morris ’21 noted Flanagan’s ability to lead from afar and believes that the team benefits from her perspective as a remote teammate.
Flanagan said, “It’s been difficult because of all of the complications that come with this pandemic, but before the season started, Katie and I worked together as co-captains to help design new uniforms and team apparel. Now, after unexpected circumstances caused me to be a remote student at the last minute, I can’t be on campus with my team but I still try to watch the games, and cheer on from afar.”
Morris added, “It’s nice to have someone that is a little bit removed from the team in a way that can give sort of that advice, it’s sort of like a new perspective on things that she can give because she’s not here.”
As Flanagan is not on campus, she has continued her training by practicing independently. She hopes to maintain ties with the sport as she wraps up her last year at Andover and heads off to college.
Flanagan said, “I am personally working on hitting. I was able to do a lot of private practicing during my Upper year last year, but after Covid-19, I haven’t been able to get back to that yet. I hope I can still stay connected with the sport, and possibly continue through college!”