For many of the players on the BYU softball team, being a daddy’s girl helped influence their love for the game of softball.
Sophomore infielder Madisen Robb, junior infielder JC Clayton and senior outfielder Delaney Willard all agreed their dads were the biggest influence on their softball. They bought their girls’ first gloves, and took them to their first softball game. And as they grew up, the girls learned to appreciate time spent with each of their dads traveling to and from games and seeing them every day on the softball field for practice.
“[My dad] taught me a lot of what I know about softball,” Clayton said. “He was always my coach and the person I looked up to for everything.”
Clayton said she still has many softball conversations with her dad while she is away at college.
“He’s definitely the go-to for softball and the go-to for if I ever want to know anything or if I ever need help,” Clayton said. “I call him over the phone constantly if I’m doing something wrong and he’ll tell me how to fix it.”
Willard said she wouldn’t be where she is today without her dad.
“He was the one that helped me with batting practice every day and hit me ground balls and fly balls,” Willard said. “He was the one that got me into softball. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to where I am just because he pushed me to be the best I could be.”
Not only have their fathers taught them about softball, they’ve also taught them valuable life lessons.
“My dad taught me to have confidence and to always persevere through everything,” Clayton said.
Willard said her dad taught her the importance of hard work.
“He would tell me to work hard because if you work hard, good things will happen for you,” Willard said. “And if you’re a good person, good things will happen to you.”
Robb is one daughter who found out the importance of making the most of the time she had with her father. She said her relationship with her father grew from a young age and progressed as he drove her to and from her club softball practices and games.
“Growing up, I was like his little mini-me,” Robb said. “I was the youngest of three sisters so he had a little more experience of what to do with me and since I was the youngest, we got to be really close.”
Unfortunately, Robb’s time with her father was cut short. When she was a junior in high school, her dad was tragically killed in a pedestrian-car accident. Robb said she remembers how passionate her father was and how much he wanted her to succeed.
“He used to always tell my mom that I had more passion then he had ever seen and he [wanted] to do anything that he could do to help me achieve my goal,” Robb said. “He was always there to push me. He always wanted me to work hard and he would never let me not reach for the stars.”
Robb now wears jersey No. 33 in honor of her late father.
“My dad’s football number was 33,” Robb said. “I wear my number in honor of my dad because it reminds me that the name on the front is who I play for and the name on my back is who I live for. I also write his number in the sand just to remember that even if he’s not here with me on earth, he’s still always with me in my heart.”
Robb said her dad will always be remembered for the great man he was.
“He was always smiling and he was always a positive person and trying to uplift people,” Robb said. “He just was one guy that always cared and he was extremely heartfelt.”
Robb hopes to continue to live her life in a way that will reflect positively on her fathers’ memory.
“My dad and my family are really important to me,” Robb said. “I play for him and everything I do is in honor of him and my family.”