Forged in Fire

Many times we get consumed by individual performances, statistics, records, etc. But does that all really matter? What matters is being part of a bigger picture. Being part of a team. Knowing you have a second family aside from your own. This tribute is for my softball teammates because they are my biggest supporters and they are like the sisters I never had. Each one of my teammates has a different personality that makes the team special in their own way. When we are down, we bring eachother up. When we struggle, we help each other out. It’s like having 11 other sisters there to give you advice and support you. Playing softball with them has made the sport such a great experience for me. We have been together at our highs and lows from the worst tournament to winning 2023 Illinois State Champions. I want everyone to know how special my team is. I want them to know they are not just phenomenal players; they are phenomenal people.

Imagine yourself on the field in 90 degree weather. Waking up at 6 a.m. to be on the field warming up by 7 a.m. and playing all day long in the heat? Some of us with our battle wounds from the field in the form of bruises, cuts, scrapes, etc. Everyone is tired. Everyone is thirsty. Everyone has reached a point where they have had enough for the day, to the point where we just want to give up. But it’s not just about ourselves. We are a team and we pick eachother up as a team. The day we won Illinois state Champions, we were all tired from being on that field for almost 10 hours. The final game, there were two teams ready to give it their all for the title of state champions. We gave all we had on the field that day. Even though we were so drained and we felt like we had nothing else to give. We never gave up. Because it’s not just about ourselves and individuals, it’s about the team as a whole. We all came together that day to bring home what we deserved. Each girl contributed to that state championship win. Aside from being great players on the field, my teammates are great outside the field. Many girls on my team take part in events and volunteer their time to help serve the community. My teammates volunteered their time to help when we have community festivals, help serve food, help set up and help run games for the kids in the neighborhood. Our neighborhood patrons are so kind and love the fact that we are giving back to our community and can set an example and serve as role models for younger girls in our neighborhood.

We are all well-rounded individuals that come together to overcome adversity and better ourselves. Being a minority team from the south east side of Chicago, we have been through so much. But in the end, we persevere. Knock us down 9 times and watch us get back up at 10. There is this saying, “Your team is only as strong as the weakest individual”. When we become weak, we pick eachother up. Strength through adversity.

This tribute is for the Forge girls.The girls who fight through adversity. The Forge girls who give blood, sweat and tears on that field. The Forge girls who are there for one another and create not only a team but a sisterhood of individuals who came together for a common goal. The Forge girls, the team from the south east side of Chicago that no one believed would come out on top. To the Forge girls, they are not only players but have become my sisters. This tribute is for you. May we continue to forge this path we are creating. The strongest steel is forged by the hottest fires. It is pounded and struck repeatedly. The fire gives it power and flexibility, and the blows give it strength. Those two things make it able to withstand every battle. Just like the forging process we grow stronger as a team.

Brianna Gonzalez – DeLaSalle Institute – DMSF Class of 2027