Most sports teams have a specific cheer or pre-game ritual. This could be as simple as girls tennis saying, “What do we dip our carrots in? Ranch!” or cross country having their pre-meet spaghetti dinners. Girls softball has a motto that they play and practice by, on and off the field. “Kia Kaha” has become the softball team’s new catch phrase and is more than just a saying.
At a team sleepover on the softball field towards the beginning of the season, the girls watched the movie “Forever Strong”. According to IMDb, it focuses on the true story of a teenager forced to join a juvenile detention center rugby team. He ends up playing in a national championship from this. This movie highlights the motto, “Kia Kaha”.
“Kia Kaha” is used frequently in New Zealand meaning “stay strong”. Kelsey Newman, senior and captain, said, “It means that you are a family. You and your team’s behavior on the field is just as important as your behavior off of the field.”
Deb Kortbawi, dean, and softball coach brought the idea of “Kia Kaha” to the season this year. Before Kortbawi, the program had had four coaches over the course of four years.
After playing on the softball team for the past four years, Newman thinks that having this mindset made the team a lot more tight knit and also made the team have less drama than it has in the past. Not only that, but she said, “Having Coach K for the second year gave the program stability.”
Newman has experienced the changes in attitude and leadership during her entire high school career. As team captain this year, “Kia Kaha” was a major aspect and reminder to her of the team dynamic. She said that her favorite memory was from freshman year. She said, “It was when I got my first hit ever on varsity versus Rock Canyon freshman year. It ended up giving us the lead and then we actually beat them.” This season, the team went 8-15, according to Maxpreps.
Jennah Klein, Photography Editor