Editor’s note: Since being part of a high school sports team isn’t just about competing in scheduled events, the Daily Herald is going behind the scenes and telling a little bit of the stories of our 2020 spring athletic squads here in Utah Valley. To do that, we are having team captains describe their teams, talk about favorite experiences and relate lessons learned.

Get on the bus for a road trip with the Springville softball team and you better be prepared to have some fun, according to senior captain Sage Bowers.

“We always bring a speaker and we’re screaming out the lyrics, jamming out together,” Bowers said. “Those rides were always our favorite. We’d be singing or have a dance party or we’d blindfold people and have them sing a song with their headphones. We had a short season and the only games we got to play were in St. George, so we were on the bus a lot. I think that was one of my favorite things that we did.”

She believes that it made a big difference to have a group of softball players that were there for each other.

“I feel like this is the first year in the last few years where we were able to figure out the chemistry,” Bowers said. “We were all really close. We’d do stuff outside of practice. We would have open gyms and then we would go do stuff after. There was no drama and we were really looking forward to that this year.”

It was a group that wanted to be good and was willing to do what it took to find success — but it also had a lot of fun.

“We knew when to work hard, when it was time to focus and get stuff done,” Bowers said. “But after practice we would have fun and have inside jokes. I feel like we found the balance of when to work and when to have fun. I felt like my role was to make it fun and not too stressful. It was about having the right atmosphere.”

Red Devil head coach Jill Thackeray said that Bowers was one of the driving forces to help the squad develop that balance.

“Sage is the epitome of a team captain,” Thackeray said. “She was the person the team could look to whenever they needed something. She took initiative and made things happen, oftentimes without prompting. She has a contagious attitude and always wants to have a good time. She knows how to keep things light and at the same time is one of the hardest workers. People worked harder because of her example. She often set the tone for how open gyms, practices and games went. Her leadership, work ethic, attitude and laugh will be missed tremendously.”

Bowers admitted that things were tough when the season got canceled as part of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It was really hard because you want to play your senior year,” Bowers said. “I feel like my role was to still be optimistic about it. We couldn’t practice together every day any more but we were still a team and still there for each other. We still planned to have get-togethers and team nights during the summer when those became allowed. We could still do stuff even though we might not be playing softball.”

But she also feels like she learned some valuable lessons as she went through the trials of 2020.

“I’ve learned to not take anything for granted,” Bowers said. “You have this time to work hard and sometimes you don’t get anything to show for it. Things can change so fast. I’ve been trying to take advantage of the opportunities I’ve been given.”

Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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