The Stansbury softball team already had its motto in mind.
Even before the season began, the Stallions knew “Whatever It Takes” would be their mantra for hard work, discipline and strength until the last inning in May.
The words took on meaning even before the first pitch.
Shortly before the season began, senior shortstop Lindsey Guymon and her freshman sister, Alyssa, were diagnosed with diabetes. In the same week, the team learned that the sibling of one of their JV teammates had committed suicide.
The Stallions’ preseason preparations suddenly turned into a lesson in real life.
“We’ve dedicated the season to them,” outfielder and No. 3 hitter Katelyn Robinson said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to win for us and for them.”
They’re also doing what they can to make a difference.
Throughout the season, coach Bridget Clinton has decided to make a $5 donation to the National Juvenile Diabetes Foundation for every home run, $4 for each triple and $3 for a double.
With hitters like Robinson, Alyssa Guymon and Janessa Bassett, the donation tab could add up fast.
“[Clinton’s] son also has diabetes, so she’s been a big support to me and my sister, as well,” Lindsay Guymon said.
The diagnosis came as a shock to Lindsey, who, unlike her younger sister, had experienced no symptoms. Her mom, however, was diagnosed with the same type of diabetes at age 20.
“It’s a weird type we like to call Type 3,” she joked. “But it’s been great to have [my mom] there for support and advice. I was just shocked. Very shocked.”
Like many competitors, she also was concerned about how the diagnosis would affect her ability to play the sport she loves.
Daily insulin shots now are routine. Meals are eaten more often. Pre- and post-game blood sugar checks are just part of the game.
Still, it’s been so far so good for the Guymon sisters.
“They’ve both adjusted to it so well,” said Robinson, who will play at SLCC this fall. “It’s like they’ve both already got the hang of it.”
The Stallions, too, seem to be finding their groove.
After a bit of a sluggish start, Stansbury has racked up an impressive 54 runs in seven games. Aside from a 12-7 loss to Class 5A powerhouse Riverton in the opening game of last weekend’s Sun Roc Invitational in St. George, the Stallions’ defense has earned three shutouts and allowed six runs in as many games.
Add a group of starting seniors who all have signed on to play collegiate softball, and you have a team ready to beat last year’s fifth-place state showing.
“Oh, without a doubt we can make it farther,” said Guymon, who has signed with Western Nebraska Community College.
The Stallions still have plenty of winning on the brain.
But now, as they storm out of the locker room and slap the sign etched with their motto, each hit mean a little bit more.
“We’re strong and unified as a team,” Guymon said. “Now more than ever.”