June 20, 2024


Exercise makes us healthy

A softball star grieves by playing the sport she learned from her dad


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Kaylie Avvisato remembers watching her initially exercise house run tumble from the sky at a softball area at age 10. Her father, Frank, experienced lobbed her the pitch, and Frank turned and viewed the ball as it carried about the back again fence.

“We both of those started out screaming,” Avvisato recalled. “It was so pleasurable.”

It was a unforgettable milestone. Frank had begun having Kaylie on every day trips to softball fields across Loudoun County, seeing his daughter’s affinity for the sport improve. A former baseball pitcher at George Washington, Frank put in several hours in the dirt fielding Kaylie’s pitches and tossing balls about the plate for her to crush toward — and now around — the fence.

A handful of yrs afterwards, Avvisato emerged as one of the area’s premier softball skills as a sophomore shortstop at Riverside Higher. Right after remaining named a top recruit in the region in the preseason, she is tied for the staff direct with six property operates this season as the Rams (12-4) in the vicinity of the playoffs and sooner or later hope to vie for the Virginia Course 5 point out title.

But whilst Avvisato is observing the rewards of her everyday training periods with her father on the area, she has had to engage in the match devoid of her mentor by her aspect for the earlier five months. Right after getting identified with throat most cancers in 2019, Frank Avvisato died in November 2021 — scarcely having the opportunity to look at his protege shine on the superior university amount.

In what Avvisato says has been a single of the most complicated stretches of her daily life, she has grieved by enjoying the sport she acquired from her late father.

“She places that uniform on with a tiny bit of a significant coronary heart each single time because she had a extremely specific romantic relationship with her father,” Riverside Mentor Kevin Bednoski stated.

A thumbs-up. A hug. A giggle. All those shared moments with her father are what Avvisato remembers most expanding up on the vacation softball scene when her father watched her participate in. Always parked on the sidelines, her father rarely missed a video game.

“He experienced an outstanding affect on my athletic job he was often there for me and normally [was] so constructive and encouraging,” Avvisato mentioned. “He was my greatest cheerleader at all my online games.”

Now Kaylie’s mom, Karen, is compelled to consider on that role by herself. As an assistant mentor on Bednoski’s team, she has grieved on the softball field along with her daughter — making certain Kaylie and her son, Anthony, truly feel supported as they system their loss.

A previous Miami (Ohio) softball participant, Karen Avvisato understands the tension parents generally drive on younger athletes. So for Kaylie’s softball, basketball and soccer games, the Avvisatos often experimented with to be far more encouraging than demanding.

“I’m a mentor, so I know that all those excursions home soon after a match you don’t defeat up [on] your young children. We never do that,” Karen Avvisato explained. “She in no way genuinely experienced pressure rising up, at the very least from us, due to the fact we just supported her.”

It was that encouragement that Kaylie Avvisato appreciated most about her father — something she carries with her as she ways up to the plate each and every at-bat.

With Frank’s overall health declining in July, the relatives took a excursion to Colorado for a vacation softball event. Frank and Karen cheered as their daughter emerged as a prime participant, batting .609 for the week when clocking 4 dwelling runs en route to a match all-star game visual appeal.

It was also the remaining time Frank was able to observe his daughter participate in.

Kaylie remembers gazing into the Colorado crowd, locating her father seated in his standard site behind the backstop. His voice box experienced been eliminated because of the spread of the most cancers in his body, and he experienced shed much more than 100 pounds. But his smile remained.

He threw his thumbs-up in Kaylie’s way. That memory — sharing a second on the softball industry with her dad nearby — has helped guide her to even a lot more accomplishment this time.

“He’s taught me at any time because I was a newborn, so just becoming capable to perform for him and figuring out that he’s just looking at over me is a seriously superior feeling,” Avvisato explained.


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