Parsons' favorite sport is the one she's playing

May 03, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Picking a favorite sport is easy for Abby Parsons. "Whatever season it is, that's what sport I like the most," said the Garrard County junior. "Then when the next season comes, I like the next sport the most. I don't choose either-or. I like them all."

Parsons' current sport of choice is softball, one of three sports she plays for the Golden Lions.

She's the team's No. 2 pitcher and starting second baseman. She's also played shortstop, her favorite position, at times.

"I've always been a shortstop, but I've learned to play other positions," Parsons said. "My freshman year I played second base. My sophomore year I played third. Now I'm back to second base."

She pitched for the junior varsity team her eighth- and ninth-grade years. She even pitched in some varsity games as a freshman. However, last season she didn't pitch.

"I like pitching because you have your hand on the ball every play," she said. "At second base, I might go a whole game and never have a ball hit to me."


She's always had a ball in her hand

She's always had a ball of some kind in her hand. Her father, Clay, a former basketball and baseball player at Garrard County, saw to that.

"Looking back at pictures when I was real young, I always had a ball in my hands. It was usually a basketball. Dad loved it and I love it, too," Parsons said. "I've ready many of the newspaper articles about him and a bunch of people from Garrard County have told me how good a player he was, which makes me proud of him.

"But he also always worked with me on my softball. We used to spend hours and hours at the ballpark. He would hit me grounders or I would be practicing my throwing or hitting."

That hasn't changed, especially since The Strike Zone recently opened in Garrard. The Parsons are co-owners of the business that has softball and baseball hitting machines and also offers individual instruction.

"It seems like I'm out there every night either hitting, pitching or just working," Parsons said. "The more you practice, the more it builds muscle memory and helps make you better. It definitely has helped my hitting. When it rains and we can't do anything outdoors, and it seems like it always rains during softball and baseball season, then our team goes there to work.

"Our family thought this would be a good business in Garrard County. But after we got it going, we could not believe how much time we have spent out there. It's like a second home now because someone is always wanting to use the facility."

Parsons ranks in the top four in batting average, hits, run scores and runs batted-in for the softball team this year. She's also 2-1 as the team's No. 2 pitcher.

A major contributor on the basketball team

She also was a major contributor for Garrard's basketball team, which finished 10-17 in coach Jenny Teater's first season. She was the team's second-leading scorer at 8.3 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field. She also averaged 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

Her third sport is soccer, where she tied for the team lead in scoring with eight goals.

Parsons started playing basketball and softball at about age 5. Her soccer career didn't start until she was a freshman in high school.

"One thing that motivated me to play is that there is a lot of conditioning required in basketball. Since soccer is mainly running, I thought it would be a good way to get in shape for basketball. But after my freshman year, I loved soccer," Parsons said.

Her father was not a soccer aficionado. However, her 10-year-old brother, Zack, started playing soccer and that also helped persuade her to try the sport.

"Zack started playing before me and I enjoyed watching him play," said Parsons, who plans to attend soccer camps at Centre College and Transylvania this summer. "Dad never minded that I wanted to play, but it was a change for all of us. None of us knew exactly what to expect when I started playing, but I really like it and now even Zack has me helping him."

She excels in the classroom, too

Despite her hectic sports schedule, she's also managed to excel in the classroom where her grade-point average falls between 3.75 and 4.0 on a 4.0 scale each semester.

"She's really done an awesome job with her studies. It's not easy, especially during basketball. It can be a real grind on her," her mother, Georgia Parsons, said.

Abby Parsons is already making plans to earn college credit by working in a physical therapy office during her final year of high school.

"My parents always told me schoolwork had to come before sports," Abby Parsons said. "It's all a matter of focus."

Parsons hopes to have a chance to play a sport in college. Her top choice would be softball, but if given the opportunity she would not turn down a chance to play basketball or soccer. However, if that doesn't happen, she'll always be able to cherish the sports she's played in high school.

"Hopefully next year will be our best in all three sports I play," she said. "Playing three sports can be hard. You sometimes burn out or just wish you could hang out with your friends more. But I would never give up one of my sports. I love them all.

"I know when it comes to go to college, my sports career might be over. If that happens, then it is over. You can't go back and play again. My father always tells me I better enjoy the chances I have now because those days will eventually come to an end. I guess maybe that's why whatever sport I'm playing, that's my favorite."

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