Kelsie Hawkins has been dedicated to softball for most of her life, and now she also helps spread the love of the sport to younger girls through coaching.
Hawkins, 21, started out playing T-ball when she was five and began her softball career at age eight.
“We lived across the street from the park, so it was just as easy as that,” said Hawkins. “My sister played as well, then my Dad coached both of us up until Grade 12.”
She added one of the main reasons she kept playing all those years was to spend a lot of quality time with her dad.
Hawkins played on the Oak Bay High school team until she graduated in 2010. Next year, she is set to graduate from Simon Fraser University with an English degree. Hawkins didn’t apply to SFU until the university softball coach contacted her.
The coach knew Hawkins from when she attended softball camps at SFU, and had been scouting her.
Although she was going to Camosun College at the time, Hawkins applied to SFU as soon as she got the call, tried out for the team and got in for the spring semester.
“It happened really, really fast,” said Hawkins.
After not playing competitively for about a year prior to going to SFU, Hawkins said it was a big adjustment.
“My first year wasn’t my best year as far as stats,” she said.
However, Hawkins has more than proven her place on the team since then.
In 2013, she was named the Red Lion co-pitcher of the week twice. She was also a Great Northwest Athletic Conference first team all-star pitcher after being second in the conference in wins.
Hawkins also plays on Team B.C., and brought home the gold with them from the Canada Games in Quebec last summer.
Being able to travel all around Canada and the world, including Cuba, China and Hawaii, is one of the great opportunities that has come from playing softball, said Hawkins.
When Hawkins was 12, she went to the World Series with her team and placed fourth – something she still credits as being her biggest accomplishment, despite all of her success in the sport since then.
Along with playing, Hawkins also keeps up with softball by coaching the Cararvon U14 girls softball team in Oak Bay, where her dad, Bill Hawkins, is the head coach.
“I like giving the girls the opportunity to learn that it’s OK to be competitive and be strong,” she said. “It’s just really nice seeing them come into their own and get some confidence from the sport.”
She started coaching the girls when she was in Grade 11 and the girls were eight-year olds.
“It’s cool to see them grow up and mature,” said Hawkins.
Once she graduates from SFU, Hawkins will come back to Victoria and plans to earn a one-year post-graduate certificate in forensic accounting.
She is still unsure if she will pursue softball after university.
“Sometimes I want to try out for the national team or just keep playing women’s ball in town, and other times I can’t deal with the decline,” she said, adding it probably depends on how well her team does this coming year.