We had a lot of fun getting to know Taylor Harty, a spunky second baseman for the Tigard Blast. Read below to learn more about Taylor, her dreams in life, and why she loves wearing Ringor!
RINGOR: How long have you been playing softball?
TAYLOR: Ummm, 5 years?
R: What team do you play for?
T: Tigard Blast!
R: What was it about softball that drew you to it?
T: Well, my uncle convinced my brother to play t-ball, and I thought “Hey I am not playing a sport so I might as well try softball”. It kinda just stuck after that.
R: Do you play any other sports?
T: No, I can’t play any other sports.
R: Why is that?
T: I just don’t have the drive to do anything else.
R: What positions do you play?
T: Middle infield , mostly second, and center field.
R: What made you choose those positions?
T: My coach put me at second in little league and I really liked it and got the hang of it. So he kept me there for ASA, and then he moved me to shortstop and I thought,”Hey, this is pretty fun!”
R: What is the hardest thing about softball?
T: Probably the mental part of it.
R: The best part?
T: The best part is probably the people that I have on my team, and the experience and the bonding and everything.
R: So when it becomes difficult and hard to focus mentally, how do you handle that?
T: Sometimes, you know, I just have those bad days and I just can’t do it. We have a break in between games so that’s when I calm down and take a breather and get my head back in the game. It’s softball, it’s fun, come on…bring your spirit back up!
R: That’s awesome. What has been your craziest softball moment?
T: There was one tournament where all the balls were coming to second, and I just got all the action. I just thought, like, this is so cool, and I kept getting outs and my coaches were like, “Yeah T! You got it!” So that was a cool moment.
R: Do you have any other nicknames?
T: No just T, but I do hate it when my coach calls me Taylor because we got that bond now and he always calls me T. So I feel like I’m in trouble whenever he calls me Taylor (laughs).
R: Tell me about the belt that you are wearing.
T: Well, I am Type 1 Diabetic, so in here it gives me insulin. With my diabetes my pancreas doesn’t work, so it gives me my own insulin through a tube that connects to my leg right here.
R: How long have you had that?
T: Well, I just got a new one a couple of months ago, but I have had the pump about 3 years.
R: Oh wow, how did you find out that you had Type 1 Diabetes?
T: I started feeling really bad and throwing up and everything, so my dad took me to the doctors and they said I had the stomach flu! We ended up going to the emergency room because I went into a coma and then they said you have type 1 Diabetes, not the stomach flu.
R: Oh my! Were you playing softball then?
T: No, I was only 5.
R: Does it have any effect on how you play?
T: No, when I am on the field I don’t really think about it. I think about the game and what happens if the ball gets hit to me. But it does effect me sometimes at practice either diving back or sliding. It would unbuckle, or get in the way or hurt but I keep going with it.
R: That is awesome that you don’t let it get to you and keep at it! What is your favorite tournament snack?
T: Okay, I was hoping you were gonna ask me this question because I had to think about this one for a long time! (Laughs) I gotta say Cheezits!
R: Cheezits? (laughs)
T: Yes! I eat them during games or in the car on the ride over I’m like, “let’s Cheezit up!”
R: (laughs) Before games how do you get mentally prepared?
T: I like to listen to music or talk to my coach or my mom and I’m like, “I’m so excited!”. But my first game of the season I was really nervous because it was the first game. I just calmed myself down and I was nervous up to bat, but I got a hit and got on and then I was like, “okay, I think I got this. “ So I felt better as the games went on.
R: Are you team sunflower seeds or team gum?
R: Just normal bubble gum?
T: Well, you know I like to spice it up a little bit. I change it up with some Juicy Fruit here and there.
R: (laughs) I like your style! What are you most looking forward to this season?
T: I am excited to use the skills that I have been practicing on. Drop knee, back hands, and use the simple fundamentals. I want to get that stuff down to become a better softball player, getting better with my batting and having fun with it.
R: What did you focus on most during the off season?
T: Batting, definitely batting. And bunting. I’ve been in a slump where I can’t lay the bunt down, but I have to work on that and Imma get it this weekend. Imma get it!
R: Who is your hero and how have they impacted your life?
T: That would be Hannah Spadafora, my coach’s daughter. She’s my hero because she is super smart, she got valedictorian…well, she’s working on it actually. She graduates this year! She’s just a really great person to look up to. Softball wise…homerun Hannah in the house! She’s just a super great person.
R: What do you think makes a great teammate and a great coach?
T: A great coach is someone that is dedicated to the team and wants to make them better and not focus on just one person, they focus on all of them and makes them stronger together. And as far as a great teammate…that’s someone who is there for teammates on and off the field. If someone is having a bad day, you are there for them and are telling them, “You got it! You got it!”. If someone makes a mistake on the field you don’t go up to them and tell them what they did wrong you tell them what they did good and encourage them.
R: What has been the biggest challenge that you have had to overcome in softball?
T: I think probably trying to live up to the standard that my coach has held me to and doing the job that is expected of me.
R: If you could only continue to do one for the rest of your life, what would you choose: Hitting or defense?
T: Defense, for sure! Specifically probably second base.
R: Nice choice! Outside of softball, what do you like to do for fun?
T: This is a hard question. I like to draw and do artsy stuff. I like to go out and run, like run around my school. You know, hang out with the fam.
R: If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would you choose?
T: It would be an elephant.
R: Wow, you had no hesitation there. (laughs)
T: Yes, an elephant. Definitely an elephant.
R: Why an elephant?
T: Because they are my favorite animal and they are just so cute and I just love elephants!
R: Favorite subject in school?
T: I like Block. So Language Arts and I like to write as well. It helps get me into that flow.
R: Do you write more narratives or poetry?
T: I just like writing everything. Sometimes it’s in my journal about my day if I am having a hard day. Sometimes it’s more like, “Hey, that was a fun moment! Let me jot that down and make it into a fun story!”
R: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
T: It would probably be Australia because (breaks into an Australian accent) they talk like this and have kangaroos! (laughs) It just seems really fun and I would love to go there and have a shrimp on the Barbie. I don’t like shrimp, but I like saying that.
R: We have a wonderful softball player named Georgia that we interviewed and she is from Australia.
T: Oh my gosh!
R: You guys should totally meet up and maybe you go over there for a little bit and she can come over here for a little bit!
T: Yeah! They do have dangerous animals over there though.
R: I hear that the kangaroos can be somewhat dangerous.
T: Or you can crawl into their little pouch and be their friend.
R: (laughs) Oh my goodness, I love your imagination. What is your favorite color?
T: Thanks! Green or turquoise.
R: Mine too!
T: We are like twinsies in the house!
R: I know! If you were stuck on an island and could only bring three things, what would they be?
T: My family and I have this discussion a lot, okay… I would bring a really really big thing of water. Like a truck full of water, because that’s genius and then you would have the truck as well, but it would be only one thing. Think about it…yeah? Then I would bring another person filled with water and electronics and stuff, then I would bring another big thing of food.
R: Nice, now did you say purse or person?
T: Person, because then you have your own little friend too.
R: Now that is thinking outside of the box.
T: Well thank you!
R: I think you are the type of person that could survive being stuck on an island.
T: I do too! I do too!
R: What are some things on your bucket list?
T: Ride a mechanical bull, of course, because everybody has to do that. Oh, and go to Australia!
R: Are there any motivational songs that you listen to that you would recommend for a playlist?
T: Well, the whip and the nae nae song of course. The “National Anthem”. It’s a good one. I don’t know all of the words, but I know the beginning.
R: You really can’t go wrong with the “National Anthem”. It’s very patriotic.
T: Yep, it’s a good one. And then you could have a slow one like Lukas Graham’s “Seven Year’s Old”.
R: What does being #softballstrong mean to you?
T: Being #softballstrong is being mentally tough and mentally present. Physically, you have to not get hurt while you are on the field. You gotta have fun on the field and get along with your team.
R: That’s a great answer. Now, you are wearing Diamond Dynasty Molded Cleats and they look awesome. Do you like them?
T: I love them because they are like angel-soft on my feet. It’s like an angel on the inside and it’s like a ferocious demon on the outside because it has, like, spikes. You know?
R: I don’t think that I have ever heard that description of our shoes before! (laughs)
T: And they look sharp too!
R: Well, Taylor, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you. Before we go, is there anybody that you would like to give a shout out or a thank you to?
T: (clears throat) I would like to thank YOU Greg. That’s my coach. And I would just like to say thank you Trissa and Chris. C-Dawg in the house. (pounds chest) I gotchu. You guys are great coaches and I wouldn’t be here without you guys, so thanks!