In a year of amazing accomplishments in softball, one of the most impressive has to be the fund-raising efforts of a high school softball player who decided to improve her community and give back to the sport she loves.
In July, we told the story of All-American Sydney Supple from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the 2019 standout pitcher/infielder who is headed to Northwestern and was the winner of this year's Gatorade State Player of the Year award which came with a $1,000 grant to go to a youth charity.
Syd used that money as the starting point to raise $75,000 to renovate a softball field in her community to make it a one that local high school, club and youth could use.
Below is the original story published 2 1/2 months ago when Syd was just halfway to her goal, but first she comments on her appreciation to those who helped her raise the funds to make this happen:
"Thanks to the community of generous donors and people who gave matches, I was able to turn my starting $1,000 from Gatorade to $75,000."
"Reaching this goal allows us to officially break ground on the ballpark, but we are not done raising money! I am still out spreading the word to continue to raise money to enhance the field by adding overheads on the dugouts and a scoreboard."
"Looking back I am so touched that countless of people have invested into the future of our sport. I am happy to know that girls and boys growing up in my hometown will have an even better opportunity and place to play than I ever did."
"More importantly, I want this field to be a message that lives on forever that you can be from Oshkosh, Wisconsin or any other place in the world and go somewhere: 'Follow your dreams and know you are capable of making a difference!'"
Original article published July 10, 2018
All-American Sydney Supple’s Blog: More Than Halfway to Building Her “Field of Dreams”
It may not be Iowa and the legendary cornfield turned into the “Field of Dreams” as made famous in the Kevin Costner movie from 1989, but the adjacent Midwest state of Wisconsin, Sydney Supple--one of the top players in the country--is trying to have the same impact in building a playing field that will help inspire generations of softball players for years to come.
The Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-American is a fiery, competitive left pitcher and hitter who went 25-2 in the circle this year for her Oshkosh North High team with a 0.97 ERA to lead the Spartans to the sectional quarterfinals. The Northwestern commit also batted .460 with 39 home runs and, on the club side, has won a PGF Nationals title playing for the Chicago-based Beverly Bandits.
But as good as Sydney between the lines, she’s equally motivated off the field to give back to the sport she loves and has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for a project that’s near to her heart.
In February, the two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year told us about “Her One Main Goal Left to Achieve” and, in her latest blog for Extra Inning Softball, Sydney updates us on her dream to unite the community and create a place for “girls to dream as big as they can while believing it can become a reality with hard work.”
“You have four years to leave a legacy,” I told myself my freshman year.
That can mean a lot of things, such as you can leave your mark on the field with the numbers you put up or change the culture and the mindset players have in years to come.
Those two goals are what initially drove me, but as I enter my senior high school year I am working towards an even greater legacy of what I want people to remember me: creating a place for girls to dream as big as they can while believing it can become a reality with hard work.
Being named a two-time Wisconsin Gatorade Softball Player of the Year was an incredible honor, but even more humbling was being the first female athlete to win it from Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The day I received the first award, I believed this was only the starting point for more awards to be brought home to my city in the years to come.
Gatorade is kind enough to give every winner $1,000 to “Play it Forward” to any youth organization of their choice and my choice was the Oshkosh FastClub Community Improvement Fund.
It was the very origin of where my love for the sport bloomed and set me up for some of the most memorable parts of my life. The money still didn’t seem enough as a thank you for the great gift my city has bestowed on me, so I decided to do something more.
In the Spring of 2018, my junior season, I launched a campaign to raise money in hopes of developing a high-quality softball field where girls from all over Oshkosh will be able to practice their skills and develop their relationship with the game, uniting all four high schools in the city and, most importantly, inspiring girls to go for their dreams.
The game does not know where you are from--you can be from any state or any city-- and you can still compete to be the best in your sport.
After I began my campaign, I was blessed to be named the Wisconsin Gatorade Softball Player of the Year for the second year in a row and was able to donate another $1,000 to my project.
With the support of the amazing families and businesses who donated to support my project and the youth in our sport, we have raised over $44,000!
It is a number I am extremely proud of and I’m grateful to live in a city that is willing to be so generous… but I am not at my goal yet!
I am working towards the $80,000 I need for the City of Oshkosh Parks Department to be able to break ground this summer.
As a five-year player from the Beverly Bandits, an organization that plays in some of the most prestigious facilities across the country and competes against the top competition in the nation, I understand a lot of young players are not able to share this experience.
That is why I feel it is important for every top athlete to do whatever they can to simulate that excitement in her hometown and keep the same mindset of loving your sport throughout the high school years.
I hope if you are reading this at any age level you are inspired to leave your mark in however you choose to be remembered and know that, no matter where you are in your career, it is never too late to leave it better than you found it!
If you are interested in finding more information on how to help me pave the way for future dreams to come, you can go to my website www.thatsmyspinonit.com!
Thank you and remember: “a kid from anywhere can always go somewhere!”
--- Sydney Supple