The roar of jet skis gliding across the placid lake or the sweet aroma of marshmallows roasting over the bright bonfire under a star-lit sky is something Shauna and Shannan Rowe will most likely miss out on this summer.
As the break from school nears and many students look forward to the freedom and fun the summer offers, these two Curry High School seniors will be busy sweating, swinging, and sliding. Swimming at the lake and just hanging out with friends during the summer is a luxury they will have to sacrifice once again. Practice and tournaments will continue to take precedence over fun and leisure. But, this sacrifice is also paying the bills.
“I’ve played other sports like volleyball and basketball,” Shauna says with a smile, “but playing softball at the college level is all I have dreamed about.” And Coach Jayne Clem at Wallace State is helping make Shauna’s and her sister Shannan’s dreams come true.
For these twin sisters, Wallace State Community College has offered to pay their college expenses since they have agreed to play softball for the Lions.
Shauna, who has played third, and Shannan, whose experience is at short and second, hope to keep these positions at the college level. “But,” Shannan adds, “I know we will have to work hard to earn our spots. We’ve always had to earn those spots.”
The girls chose to focus on softball because this is their forte, and, Shannan interjects, “because I’ve been playing this sport my whole life.”
The girls began playing softball about ten years ago when they were seven. And both love the game so much that the responsibilities that come with playing don’t always seem like sacrifice. However, there are times when the girls have felt like giving up and quitting softball.
“It’s hard to watch your friends hanging out and having fun during the summer and you have to leave to go to practice,” Shannan says, getting honest. Shauna chimes in with, “When you have a bad game or you strike out, your mind just tells you how much you hate the game and just stop playing. I’m glad we don’t always listen to our emotions.”
Instead, the girls focus on their teammates and their love for the game. “My teammates are part of the reason I keep going, especially on those bad days,” Shannan says. “Along with my parents, the team is very encouraging even when they tell me the truth about how bad I may have played. We have had the dream to play at the college level, so we push on.”
Shauna adds, “If you really want to play at the college level, you have to be willing to continuously improve your game and continue to get better. One way is that you have to play travel ball in addition to school ball. There’s a whole lot of travel involved with summer teams, and not just travel within the state.”
Where some families go out of state for vacation, the Rowe sisters leave town for work. Both girls and their family have traveled as far as California to play softball.
“Our family is a huge part of our sports,” Shauna says. “It has been very time-consuming and expensive for my family to help me play softball, so my sister and I are so thankful for all the support our family has given us. We wouldn’t be where we are without them.”
Shannan adds, “If we didn’t have the support and encouragement from our family to keep us motivated, it would be very difficult to keep playing. Softball can be a game of failure and rivalry, so softball players need lots of support.”
However, sibling rivalry doesn’t stand a chance, given the closeness of these two twin sisters. Shauna and Shannan support each other at all times, even when there may be competition between them. Shannon says she and her sister are competitive in a good way. “We love to see each other succeed,” Shauna says. “When Shannan gets a home run, it feels just like I got one because we try to help each other so much.”
As the school year comes to a close and the sisters embark on their journey to the next challenge of softball at the college level, the support and encouragement will continue. Even when they have to forego time at the lake with friends to attend summer workouts, summer camps, and tournaments, the sacrifice will be worth it. The girls know the lake and the fun will always be there, but the chance to play college ball is an opportunity they don’t want to miss. 78