With a large team comes a large responsibility for a captain. One would describe a captain to be a leader who is persistent and humble. Girls Varsity Softball’s Co-Captain Kiley Buckley ’23 rises to the challenge as a leading example of persistence and humility. In spite of challenging games, Buckley still showcases her ferocity by giving it her all and encouraging her teammates to do the same.
Angie Ceballos Cardona ’25 values Buckley’s attitude towards softball. To truly showcase leadership, Buckley goes out of her way to display what is valuable to the game, the team, the practice, according to Cardona. The willingness to take the time to do this has earned Buckley great admiration from her teammates, especially the younger ones.
Cardona said, “I would say Kiley is a captain that leads by example. I wouldn’t say she’s not outspoken. But I think instead of telling people what to do, she shows people what to do. And I think for me personally, what I’ve learned from her is [that] she works hard in silence. I don’t think she has announced to anyone how hard she works. Everyone sees it. And the way she plays and the way she goes about the game. And I really respect that.”
Other teammates, like Fallon O’Connor ’23 are able to see Buckley in different settings. Spending time on and off the field creates a trustful bond, where teammates can be depended upon each other. O’Connor notes that Buckley showcases the same diligence on her other teams to continue to refine as an athlete and a captain.
“So Kiley is actually one of my best friends on and off the field. So having her as a captain is really inspiring in that sense. And also, the fact that she’s always improving and getting stronger. We also play the same club team, so I get to see her there. And I really think that she’s able to take what she’s learned to help out the team. And definitely, she loves to help out people and teach people. So I think that is really helpful. And I feel like I can always count on her,” said O’Connor.
Collaboration is the greatest weapon for a successful team. A team that is familiar with each other plays well with each other. The same can be said for captains. Buckley emphasized that working alongside Co-Captain Evalyn Lee ’23 has given her an opportunity to lead a cohesive team, while learning from each other. Their positions, Buckley being an infielder and Lee being an outfielder, creates balance within the team.
Buckley said, “Working together on the field and during practices, just trying to talk [about] certain situations over, I think that’s really helpful to have, like another person there that can give an opinion. And make sure the rest of the team is aware of what’s going on. And then we also have a lot of other Uppers that serve as good leaders as well… During practice, she plays outfield, and I play the infield. … She kind of takes over the outfield… just initiating certain things with the outfield.”
Recently, some of the games have not gone the team’s way, as it is still trying to find its footing. In such situations, Cardona highlighted Buckley’s ability to learn from her mistakes and return stronger each time. Having a growth mindset as Buckley does sets her up as a good example for the players. Knowing that each challenge just means playing harder and better the next time highlights how Buckley, in collaboration with Lee, can lead a team of strong willed individuals.
Cardona said, “I think Kiley is very good at bouncing back and understanding what she needs to do better. I think, last game, she didn’t beat herself up too much for any errors that she made or just us having a tough game in general. I mean, I think everyone struggled in their own way. I think they shook it off really well. And today in practice, they were ready to go and I see that a lot after we lose that they’re ready to go the next day and that they don’t dwell on that loss. Because they know that’s not us. And we can find ways to be better.”
Buckley ensures that in face of adversity, the team remains attentive to the game. Everyone has their ups and downs, but continuing to move past the low points allows the team to start off a clean slate and play harder the next time, according to Buckley.
“I think if we come across a challenge in a game, just kind of making sure that everyone on the bench or in the field stays focused. We try to stay focused and forget [and just make that easy fix and continue on. I think that’s really helpful to keep that mindset going. And sometimes that’s really hard for me or like other players. Like if you get frustrated, softball is a pretty big mental game, so you just have to talk to each other, like people talk to me. I talk to them, like just making sure that everyone stays on their game in their head,” said Buckley.
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