Spotlight on Amberly Butler – Class of 2019 – A Born Athlete

With her natural athleticism, Amberly Butler absorbed the game and performed like a veteran player. Photo Credit:  Amberly Butler

With her natural athleticism, Amberly Butler absorbed the game and performed like a veteran player. Photo Credit: Amberly Butler

Amberly Butler is a hardworking, athletic, and intelligent junior at Cape Henry. Throughout the course of her 2-year journey at CHC, Amberly has been an avid member of the girls’ softball team. Amberly has also played basketball and softball for Cape Henry while she has been here, and has played softball since she was nine years old, and travel softball since she was 10. Although she enjoys basketball, her passion has always been softball and she works exceptionally hard to get her skills to the place that they are now.

This September, Amberly received an email from head field hockey coach, Kristen Wheeler. The email was regarding Amberly’s athleticism and her potential in becoming a strong field hockey goalie. After reading this email, she shared how she was “shocked, and had no gear and it might be hard to jump into a team [dynamic] in the middle of their season.” but Amberly positively reacted to this email and was out on the field training the week following.

On her first day of goalie training with the field hockey team, she just observed practice to see if this was something she would want to try. Seeing her great potential, Coach Wheeler kept pushing Amberly to join the team. After observing the first few practices and developing an understanding of the sport and rules, it didn’t take long at all to get Amberly on the team.

“Softball definitely helped me adapt to field hockey,” shares Butler. She knows that her reaction time and awareness that she immediately transferred into the field hockey goal, all comes from her years of experience with softball. “Softball created a strong reaction as a catcher, which [allowed for] an easy transition into a field hockey goalie reaction.” She also added how she is proud of herself for sticking with her softball catcher position, when at times she wanted to quit that position and move to a new one. “I’m thankful that catcher is something that I stuck with, because in the end, it helped me pick up field hockey so much more quickly.”

“I’ll never forget,” Butler starts, “after only being at practice for one day without even putting on any gear or participating at all that day, the following day was our first game and I was asked in the last 15 minutes if I was ready to jump in.” She laughs as she recollects this first memory. “I thought to myself for a second and my answer back to coach was positive and reassuring. Why would I agree to join the team halfway through the year if I’m not going to jump in the game?” So she put on her goalie pads and jumped into the last 15 minutes of the game. Her first time being in a game and first time ever watching a game, and she held down the goal and let nothing past her.

“I adapted well to the speed of the game and how everything worked. I would say that the reason I adapted so well, was because I had Reilly Bawcom in goal to help me out.” Reilly Bawcom (‘18) taught Amberly everything she needed to know about the goalkeeper position and how it should be correctly played. Reilly worked hard to train Amberly as a comfortable, confident goalkeeper so that when she is gone next season, Amberly will be able to step up as the starting goalie and successfully do the job.

One moment that Amberly shared that was really special to her this season was the game in regular season against Norfolk Academy. “Every other game before this one was totally in our team’s favor, and we had won by a lot each time, but the NA game was different because I didn’t know what to expect at all from them.” With Norfolk Academy ranked #2 in the nation, Amberly knew that the rivalry between NA and Cape was real and competitive. Giving them the only game to give them competition throughout the season, Cape Henry fell to a 2-0 loss to them, but were very proud of how their game plan was executed.  Amberly was happy to be a part of that moment where her team put up a well-fought battle against Norfolk Academy.

Amberly shared how she is not yet sure if she wants to take softball to the next level, but is considering that as an option if the school and the softball program match up how she wants them to. “I recently toured Clemson and really liked it, and they are conveniently getting a softball team the year that I graduate, so I am thinking that that could work out really well for me.”

In the meantime, the fans at CHC will be able to delight in watching Amberly on the softball and field hockey fields for one more year.  With her high quality game, endless determination, and knowledge of each sport, we are, no doubt, in for a treat.