By Erika Neldner
Reinhardt softball coach Jade Geuther knows there’s more than on-the-field skills and knowledgeable of fundamentals when it comes to being a mentor to her players.
For several years, Geuther has been in touch with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, seeking a patient who has a passion for softball.
In August, Geuther and the Lady Eagles Softball Team made a lasting impression on young Brielle, a patient at CHOA. Brielle’s last name and medical condition are being withheld to protect her privacy.
“I have been trying to connect with CHOA for a few years, and they haven’t ever had anyone who loves softball – until this year,” Geuther said. “I made the connection because it’s important in my coaching philosophy to emphasize the full person, not just the softball field. And we were fortunate to meet Brielle, who loves softball.”
The Eagles softball team traveled to Atlanta wearing pink shirts – Brielle’s favorite color – labeled “We W.A.L.K. for Brielle.” The team’s theme for the year is W.A.L.K., standing for Work, Accountability, Love and Killer instinct mentality, and it seemed fitting to share that mantra as Brielle fights her own battles even off the softball field.
That visit surprised Brielle with a letter of intent, making her an honorary member of the softball team, as well as her very own jersey and helmet, with her custom number – 23.
“We also delivered Reinhardt softball gear and memorabilia, along with personal letters from each team member,” Geuther said.
“The visit that day was awesome. Words really can’t express how proud that made me feel,” said Brielle’s mother, Shawna. “As her mom, I have been on an emotional roller coaster. And she shows me every time that she has this in the bag. Her father and I are very appreciative of what Reinhardt Softball has done for her. She also told me, ‘Mommy, I would like to go to that College.’ You all have inspired her so much, and I thank God that we had this opportunity. I can’t wait for the season to start so that we can make it to a game. Please keep doing what you are doing because it surely touched our lives.”
Geuther said the team plans to stay connected to Brielle to grow the relationship with Brielle and her family.
“We are planning more visits to CHOA, going to watch Brielle play softball and having Brielle in the dugout at our games whenever she is able to attend,” Geuther said. “We are so blessed to be able to add Brielle to our softball team. Our visit day changed our lives. Through all of her trials, Brielle is so appreciative of everything in her life so that kind of attitude puts things in perspective. When you know your why and when you see Brielle smile like she did on our visit with her, our game becomes easy. We can’t wait to push forward and battle in this season with Brielle.”