The SF Network

Girl Power! Elizabethtown Sports Park Teams Up with University of Louisville Softball

In the heart of Elizabethtown, a unique partnership is blossoming. Andrew Kurtz, the General Manager of Elizabethtown Sports Park and a true believer in youth development, works with collegiate athletes from the neighboring University of Louisville (U of L) to inspire and nurture the next generation of softball players.

“I think it’s cool to see the college players give back to the sport that they love and try to help grow the next generation of players,” said Kurtz. “We were really happy to offer this opportunity to the girls in the Hardin County region, and I know the U of L girls were really excited about it.”

The program is an NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) opportunity that allows athletes to give back to their sport while earning some income. Kurtz said that this is the perfect win-win situation, as the athletes get a chance to contribute to their community while the girls have role models to look up to.

“You know, the NIL space, especially being so close to the university, has inspired me to try and do something here at the park for a while. U of L is only 45 minutes away. And it just turned out to be a perfect opportunity with us running this league to make those two things happen.”

In an industry dominated by football and basketball, this initiative brings a much-needed spotlight on youth involvement in softball. The park’s leagues cater to girls aged 6-14, many of whom have never experienced the thrill of gripping a softball or swinging a bat. Yet, through this initiative, they’re not just learning the basics; they’re interacting with college athletes who were once in their shoes, seeing firsthand what sportsmanship, dedication, and love for the game looks like. These young learners aren’t just building athletic skills, they’re learning about the passion and resilience required to be great.

However, the program’s first priority remains clear: fun. “I saw the biggest smile on every young girl’s face, and that was because of the engagement with the college players. Lots of one-on-one coaching, encouragement, and high-fives all around.”

The initiative is also a source of immense local pride, as three participating college athletes – Brooke Gray, Madison Winkler, and Ally Alexander– hail from Kentucky. It offers a tangible representation of what hard work and dedication can lead to, inspiring the girls to dream big and aim high.

“I really enjoyed the camp,” said U of L athlete Madison Winkler. “Every kid there was so fun to work with, and they caught on so fast. It’s amazing to be able to give back to younger players and give them a base to help them grow.”

But for Kurtz, the ultimate goal is to create lifelong memories.

“I remember when I was a kid, I got to go out to the Colorado Avalanche game and skate during intermission. That is a core memory for me as a six or seven-year-old kid,” said Kurtz. “Hopefully, we’re creating core memories for these girls and giving them role models to look up to, with three of the college players from Kentucky. I hope these young girls develop a love for the game and are also inspired to one day play at the collegiate level.”

The story of Elizabethtown Sports Park is a testament to the transformative power of sports. It’s not just about learning to swing a bat or throw a ball – it’s about nurturing dreams, fostering resilience, and lighting the spark of lifelong passion in the hearts of the next generation of athletic talents.

“Even if they don’t remember it in a couple of years, at least they came out and had a great time, and they were smiling and laughing. That’s a win in my book.”

Related Posts