New Castle News

Shenango

July 4, 2012

Female Athlete of the Year: Shenango’s Michelle Watson

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — ‘HOURS AND EFFORT’

Watson didn’t have a choice, at least, not in her mind. She refused to settle for mediocrity, whether it was hitting or pitching.

“They’re both a lot of work,” she said. “I don’t think people realize how much work it takes to be a pitcher and how much extra we have to do, between lessons on the weekends and stuff like that.

“And there’s a difference between hitting and being a hitter. It takes a lot of extra swings and a lot of wanting to be a successful hitter. Just the same with pitching. You can throw a ball, but if you want to be a good pitcher, you have to put in the hours and the effort.”

That type of dedication was almost too much. Delaney laughed a bit when she talked about how Watson’s relentless devotion to both sports was nearing an obsession. Watson, also a member of National Honor Society among numerous other clubs and organizations, never took a day off from practice ... or studying ... or games ... or fundraising. She never quit striving for more.

One would think the constant grind would eventually wear Watson down, but that wasn’t happening.

“There were actually a couple of times on a Sunday that I told her she wasn’t allowed to do anything,” Delaney recalled. “I said, ‘You’re not allowed to pick up a bat, a ball, your shot or disc. Nothing.’ I said, ‘You have to do absolutely nothing but relax this weekend.’ ”

That’s pretty much impossible for Watson. Aside from sports and the aforementioned clubs and organizations, she’s also involved in Students Against Drunk Drivers, Spanish Club and Student Council. She volunteers at Royal Family Kids’ Camp (a summer camp for abused and neglected children), Life Long Learning Choices, the BooFest and summer reading at Cascade Park and also is a part of the food drive and bazaar at St. Vitus Church.

Don’t forget about Peer Leadership, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and National Honor Society.

“She’s just the all-around kid,” Delaney said. “When she takes something on, she takes it on wholeheartedly. And that’s everything in her life — her classes, any kind of club she’s in, and obviously, with sports as well.”

But why? Why would a high school kid sacrifice so much of her time to help others?

“I guess just ‘cause if I was in their shoes, I’d want someone to do that for me,” Watson said. “I’d definitely say that my parents impacted me in that. It’s everything I was taught.”

Lawrence County is glad she listened.

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