The unmistakable laughter of friends could be heard throughout the field house on Tuesday as the Springfield College Softball team welcomed their newest teammate through the cooperation of Team Impact twelve year old, Talia Soto.
Right up until the ceremony took place in front of the entire softball team, staff from the athletic department, members of the media, and members of the Springfield College Football team, Talia was laughing and dancing with her new teammates.
Talia and the softball team are the schools thirteenth match through Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of life to children facing serious and chronic illnesses through the power of a team. With Talia’s signing, Springfield College remains the leader in Division III and also is in the top three for the entire country in Team IMPACT signings.
As Talia signed her letter of intent she was surrounded by head coach of the softball program Kate Bowen, her mother Alana Buckner, and senior pitcher Talia Loda. Her infectious smile was on display as she signed the letter to applause from everyone in attendance.
Despite her smile and an undeniably happy personality, her life hasn’t always been as cheery as her demeanor. A diagnosis of Left Pelvic Ewing Sarcoma in 2011 provided Talia the biggest challenge of life. It has been an uphill battle ever since. After the contract signing, Talia’s mom had a chance to reflect on the signing of her daughter to be a part of the team.
“Talia’s been so brave and so strong. Now we have these lovable ladies that have invited into their life and we’re just so excited.”
Not only is Talia’s mother excited for the opportunity, but she also talked about how excited Talia is to join the softball team.
“She [Talia] is very excited. She talks about the team all the time and I can see more happiness in her than before.”
At a school that has a successful past with Team IMPACT, Talia on the team is not only a natural fit but an exciting opportunity for her, as well as for the coaches and players. Bowen is excited about what Talia can bring to the team.
“I think it just reminds us every day that we need to go through life with a positive attitude like she does every day and she’s been through so much more than we have. She reminds us to be fearless.”
As the team gets closer to the start of the season, they are looking forward to not only starting the season, but also building a lasting relationship with Talia.
Kevin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.