Northeast Times

Wonder woman

St. Huberts’ Brit­tany Smith is both a field hockey cap­tain and a soft­ball cap­tain-to-be for the Bam­bies. She’s also in­volved in a pleth­ora of ex­tra­cur­ricular activ­it­ies. 

Do it all: Brit­tany Smith is heav­ily in­volved at St. Hubert. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF BRIT­TANY SMITH

Brit­tany Smith still has a year left at St. Hubert, but her love for her school already has her think­ing about the fu­ture.

The way dis­tant fu­ture.

“Even when I’m 80, I’ll be donat­ing money to that school,” the seni­or-to-be said.

In a wide-ran­ging con­ver­sa­tion, Smith al­ways seemed to come back to the un­con­di­tion­al love that she has de­veloped for St. Hubert since she en­rolled as a “scared, tim­id, little” fresh­man. 

The Rhawn­hurst nat­ive has been heav­ily in­volved in all that the school has to of­fer, play­ing mul­tiple sports and par­ti­cip­at­ing in a hand­ful of ex­tra­cur­ricular activ­it­ies. After the sum­mer ends, Smith will enter her fourth year as a varsity mem­ber of the Bam­bies’ field hockey and soft­ball pro­grams. She’s been a field hockey cap­tain since her sopho­more year, and has been named the lone soft­ball cap­tain for the 2014 sea­son, one in which the corner out­field­er will be at­tempt­ing to reach her fourth con­sec­ut­ive Cath­ol­ic League cham­pi­on­ship game (she won as a sopho­more and lost as a fresh­man and ju­ni­or). Smith is also fresh off an ap­pear­ance in the Car­penter Cup, an All-Star show­case fea­tur­ing soft­ball play­ers from Pennsylvania, New Jer­sey and Delaware.

Be­ing ap­poin­ted to such an im­port­ant po­s­i­tion for head coach Dave Schafer’s highly suc­cess­ful pro­gram is not a re­spons­ib­il­ity Smith is tak­ing lightly.

“It’s a great hon­or, and ob­vi­ously I have huge foot­steps to fol­low,” Smith said, re­fer­ring to last year’s tal­en­ted cap­tains, Erica Ragazzo­ne and Gabby DeLeo. “But I feel like I’m ready. I’ve been a starter since fresh­man year, and I know what it takes to be a lead­er. Throughout the years I’ve learned so much from those girls, mainly how to lead with grace and to pick people up when they need it. I’ll work as hard as I can for my team­mates so we can get back to Ar­ca­dia and win.”

Ar­ca­dia Uni­versity was the site of this year’s Cath­ol­ic League cham­pi­on­ship, and Smith re­mem­bers the Bam­bies’ crush­ing loss to Con­well-Egan all too well. She’s already dream­ing about get­ting back to that point, but next year’s soft­ball sea­son is far from the only thing she has to look for­ward to in her seni­or year.

In the fall, she’ll be fo­cus­ing on her fi­nal sea­son of field hockey, a sport she didn’t pick up un­til fresh­man year. She in­stantly fell in love with it.

“Since the mo­ment I picked up a stick, I was hooked,” she said. “I’ve been play­ing soft­ball my whole life. At schools like Arch­bish­op Car­roll and Car­din­al O’Hara, girls have been play­ing it forever, kind of like me and soft­ball, so you’re 10 steps be­hind them. But that’s the fun of it. You learn fast and put your heart in­to it. It gives me the same ad­ren­aline rush that soft­ball does. I don’t know if I could pick just one of the sports if I had to.”

Smith is also im­mensely in­volved in non-ath­let­ic activ­it­ies. She’s been a stu­dent coun­cil mem­ber since fresh­man year, and serves as a Bam­bie Am­bas­sad­or, which es­sen­tially en­tails her mak­ing re­cruit­ing trips to loc­al grade schools. 

“Ba­sic­ally, I go to a grade school and talk St. Hubert up, telling the girls how much I love it and how much they can get out of it,” she said. “It’s awe­some to see them later on if they de­cide come here. Maybe I con­vinced them to join this tra­di­tion and keep it alive.’”

Smith has grown im­mensely in her three years at St. Hubert, and she poin­ted to the ef­forts by the school’s ex­ten­ded com­munity to save it from clos­ure last year as a turn­ing point in her self-de­vel­op­ment.

Smith’s mom and aunts had gradu­ated as Bam­bies, but Smith her­self didn’t see it — that spe­cial something, that St. Hubert lore that makes the school as be­loved as it is — un­til she was join­ing the stu­dent body on the steps at 6 a.m. for ral­lies in the dead of winter.

“It was so emo­tion­al,” she re­called. “For awhile, it was just heart­break­ing and sad, like I had lost someone close to me. It was aw­ful wak­ing up and stand­ing in the freez­ing cold, but the thought of go­ing to a new school was much worse. Be­ing out on those steps, it showed me how awe­some these girls are, and the love we have for each oth­er.

“It was the scar­i­est time in our lives, and we got through it as sis­ters. It just showed how strong we are, how we can over­come any obstacle no mat­ter how over­whelm­ing.”

As pain­ful as it is, Smith has star­ted think­ing about what comes after St. Hubert. 

She hopes to find a col­lege that’s a per­fect fit, which in her case would al­low her to study Spe­cial Edu­ca­tion and play at least one — but maybe both — of her fa­vor­ite sports. Smith said think­ing about life after St. Hubert is both stress­ful and ex­hil­ar­at­ing.

“I watched the seni­ors do all of their ‘lasts’ this year, and it really hit home,” she said. “It’s sad, but ex­cit­ing to start that fi­nal chapter. My last field hockey game, my last soft­ball game, my last winter form­al … it’s go­ing to be nerve-wrack­ing, but I’m go­ing to make the most out of every mo­ment. Coach Schafer teaches us to treat every game like it’s our last, and that’s how I’m go­ing to treat seni­or year.”

Above all else, Smith is thank­ful — and honored — to be such a big part of something that has be­come so spe­cial to her.

When asked to name her fa­vor­ite memory and what she’ll miss the most, Smith couldn’t come up with just one an­swer.

“I’ll def­in­itely nev­er for­get keep­ing the school alive, to have months of tears and heart­break only to come out on top,” she said. “Get­ting to gradu­ate from here I think is the best thing ever for me. And of course, win­ning the Cath­ol­ic League cham­pi­on­ship my sopho­more year … that’s something I can’t wait to tell my kids and grandkids how much it meant to me.

“And I think just the change in me as a per­son. I wasn’t out­go­ing when I got here; now, I feel like I can take the reins and lead a team and a school. St. Hubert brought that out in me and made me in­to the per­son I am now. It’s in­cred­ible what three years at a high school can to do to you. I’m def­in­itely a dif­fer­ent per­son than I was, in all of the right ways.” ••

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus