Fike sets the tone for North Tonawanda
for captain Caroline Fike when she steps into the batters box. It's also a perfect description of Fike's personality and how lucky the Jacks feel to have her for a captain.
"I hope they learn from me and what I try to do for the team. I like it when
they sing that," Fike said with a shy smile.
A senior in her second year with the North Tonawanda varsity softball team Fike's voice of leadership has been a priceless commodity during a challenging 2012 season.
The youngest team in the Niagara Frontier League, NT has taken its share of lumps along the way. But there is a world of potential in front of them.
But Caroline Fike will be gone by the time that potential is finally realized. But that doesn't keep Fike from giving her all every time she steps onto the field.
That in itself speaks to Fike's character. While some kids might flat-out quit or mope around feeling sorry for themselves and bringing down the overall mood of the team, Caroline Fike remains upbeat and a source of positive energy.
"Caroline continually shows that great character," NT coach Cheryl O'Connor said. "She's continually trying to build people up in the dugout. If somebody makes an error, she's over there telling them get your head up it's ok."
Fike sees the whole picture. She knows that this isn't about her stats or closing out her career with a glorious run to a championship. This season is about planting the seeds of success and helping to nurture the youth of this program that will help the Jacks return to glory.
"I think her biggest thing is that she wants to make everything better and do it all herself,"
O'Connor said. "And she's trying to carry the weight of the team on her shoulders. She needs to take that pressure off herself and just play ball. She's my head captain. She's trying to be the leader and she's trying to hard to help the younger players."
The Lady Jacks starting shortstop Fike, who also pitches, isn't just the only senior in the infield.
She's the only starter with varsity experience. With so much youth the Jacks have been prone to the fundamental errors that come due to a lack of experience.
Fike shows her character by putting even more weight on her shoulders in an attempt to help alleviate the pressure her younger teammates are feeling. Fike also knows that sports are about life lessons and that standing up to challenges and tough times on the playing field will prepare her for the struggles of the adult world.
"I think it's tough to lose, but you really see who you are faced with that every night," she said."You keep wanting to battle and you keep wanting to pull together. And we do, do that. Sometimes we find ourselves in a hole, but we always work together and come back, at least a little bit. As a person I feel this will definitely help me in the future because I see more of who I am, because I keep telling myself I can work through the hard times."
Would Fike like to see more wins? Obviously, yes. Every girl would. And there's no doubt about it, there have been days when the haul has been a little tougher than others. But Caroline Fike maintains her composure and always carries herself in a way that helps the team believe that if they stick together, better days are coming.
"It's hard to lose," Fike confessed. "But you really need each when you're going through tough times."