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Multiple Teams · Senior softball player Mary Fuerst – Special award

Mary Fuerst – Triple-Impact Competitor® Scholarship by the Cleveland Chapter of Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA-Cleveland). The award is presented to a student-athlete who has made a significant positive impact in their schools, on their teams, and in their communities by demonstrating a commitment to making themselves better, their teammates better, and their sport better. – Mary was the 2016 PCA award winner

When she’s not on the mound or at the plate, or competing on the basketball or volleyball courts, Mary Fuerst is working hard in the classroom and in her community and carries over the lessons learned in competition to other aspects of her life.

“Mary honors the game by remembering that it is a game,” says Ken Marquard, a Youth Minister at St. Brendan Church in North Olmsted that has worked with Mary for several years. “She says that winning is great, but the game is about building relationships, learning social skills, and realizing who you are. She goes into every game enthusiastically, and realizes that not every call is going to go your way. Instead of getting frustrated, she adjusts to the situation, providing an example for her teammates. Mary has a very positive attitude. She believes that the overall experience of softball will guide and define you if you remember to enjoy the wins, learn from the losses and accept the things you cannot control.”

Mary’s head softball coach, John Wadas, agrees. “Mary is one of the hardest working individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Whether it was on the softball field or in the classroom, Mary strived to be the best possible person she could be. In school, Mary always arrived early to seek additional help and understanding. In softball, Mary was always the first person at practice and the last to leave. She was always willing to lend a hand or help a younger player work on things.”

“Mary is a natural leader.”

Those leadership skills and her commitment to make herself better, help her teammates get better, and ultimately make her sports better are all qualities that earned her the Positive Coaching Alliance – Cleveland Triple-Impact Competitor® Scholarship award.

Cassandra Gaye, another of Fuerst’s coaches reiterates, “Mary’s hard work, determination and heart make her an intangible player in our program. As an individual, she is constantly striving for something more on and off the field. She is someone that is extremely open minded and willing to lend a hand to anyone in need. She is someone that trusts the process and works hard day in and day out, knowing that her hard work will pay off.”

In Mary’s own words, she highlights the physical and mental dedication it takes to develop as an athlete and a person. “To improve as an athlete, I play multiple sports. This means I have very little free time. I have to manage my time, prior plan and always be prepared. I play basketball to improve my agility and stamina, while softball improves my hand eye coordination and strength. Mentally, I begin each week by reading an article that talks about mental toughness and every day. I find a quote that is inspirational to motivate me to achieve my best. Maintaining good grades helps me to explore and research different strategies and theories that will improve my game. When I put it all together it makes me a better athletic and person.”

Mary invests the same level of focus and commitment to her teammates, whether staying late after practice to help a teammate slumping at the plate, sending motivational texts to her team every day, coordinating team bonding events, or driving teammates to and from games and practices. Wadas adds, “Her teammates adore her and respect her greatly. When she talks, they respond. Her actions motivate others to be better. She never settles for mediocrity.”

Her volleyball coach, Claudia Botoulas also shares, “She made sure she played her best to set the example and during practices she stayed later to work on her hitting or setting. No one told her to do so…she just thought she needed it…soon after the other teammates started to join her. She utilized the opportunity to not only share her passion for improvement but she helped her teammates to realize that they are team and outcome depends from all of them as one unit!”

Perhaps Mary’s impact on her teammates, coaches, and the sports in which she participates are best summed up by Mary when she states, “I honor the game by remembering it is a game. Winning is great but the game is about building relationships, learning social skills and realizing who you are. I go into every game with a smile on my face and my goal is to leave the game with a smile.”

“What is important about the game is that you are in a moment…a moment that you might or might not remember in ten years but the overall experience…will guide and define you if you remember to enjoy the wins, learn from the losses and accept the things you cannot control.”

This article was obtained from the positive coaching alliance website. http://positivecoach.org/the-pca-blog/scholarship-winners-in-cleveland/#maryfuerst