Being… Kennedy Walter

Kennedy Walter has come a long way.

It wasn’t long ago Walter was a right-handed hitter. A birth defect in her left eye made hitting difficult from the right side.

So she switched to a left-handed batter.

“I really think it’s cool how much I’ve accomplished on the left side when I think back to how I used to hit, and how I used to be so down on myself for not hitting as well as my other teammates,” said the senior co-captain on Warren’s playoff-bound softball team. “It feels good becoming good at something you struggled with… I worked and it took a couple years, but here I am today, doing exactly what I have wanted to do.”

Walter is now starting third baseman on her team with the seniors making their fourth straight trip to the District 10 Class AAA playoffs, playing Corry at 1 p.m. Thursday at Penn State Behrend.

Walter is a good example of why they’re there, loving the attention and willing to battle to win no matter how far she has to go to get there.

It’s really not a surprise that Walter wants to move to California and become an actress on the big screen.

“There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big in my opinion,” she said.

She makes that known to everyone who knows her.

A little “Q & A” with Kennedy Walter:

Q: Who are your parents, siblings, an what sports do you play?

A: My parents are Kevin Walter and Kelly Smith. I have one brother, Kurtis Walter. I play softball.

Q: You are a senior in a program that has been successful for years. How do you feel you have evolved and grown in the program? How do you feel about your game compared to how you felt as a freshman, if you remember?

A: I definitely have grown a lot. I used to be so nervous in the batter’s box my freshman year. I was nervous about getting hit with the ball; sophomore year is when I really stepped up my game, in my opinion. I made plays in center field and I did my job at the bottom of the batting order. As for now, as a senior, I’m more fundamentally sound and disciplined at the plate. Also, as for keeping my composure, I’ve improved a lot. I’ve learned you can’t hold on to a mistake you made if you plan on moving forward.

Q: Would you consider yourself a leader on the team? Who or what helped you become this way? Would you view yourself as an aggressive personality on the team, or a quiet personality? I think I know the answer. Give me an example.

A: Yes, this year my team voted me to be captain along with Alexa Bupp and Kaitlin Ishman. In a way, I feel like the amount of experiences I’ve encountered throughout my softball career has helped me become the leader I am today to my team. I’m definitely a joker. I believe there are times to be serious but also there are a lot more times to just have fun especially on the softball field because once it’s over, it’s over. And are you really going to remember the times you’ve hit 4-for-4 in a game, or the crazy memories you made with your teammates in the outfield during batting practice, on the bus, out to eat, or at team sleepovers?

Q: When did you realize you were in love with the sport? You were an outfielder up until this year…

A: I definitely fell in love with softball my first year of all-stars. I thought it was so cool. People who know me know that I absolutely love being the center of attention. And in a way, I realized softball would help me achieve that. I mean, when you’re 10, and you see your picture and/or name in the paper, you think you’ve officially made it. So I kept up with softball because I loved being in the paper.

Along the way I fell in love with all the people who were a part of softball. I wouldn’t be the person I am today on or off the field without them. I loved the game but the people kept me coming back.

As for the realizing I was an outfielder? I realized that when I made my first throw from center field to home plate to get a girl out. I just loved that feeling and ever since I haven’t found a thing that’s made me feel that great.

Q: I understand you were a right-handed batter. Tell me the circumstances with your eyesight/vision that made you turn to left-handed? How difficult an adjustment to slap-hitting was it and how did you overcome your difficulties?

A: When I was three years old, the eye doctor diagnosed me with a rare birth defect in my left eye called amblyopia. So in my left eye, I’m considered almost legally blind. I always had a little trouble seeing the ball from the right side because my left eye is facing the pitcher.

My coach, Mark Bupp, knew I always struggled a little bit on the right side, so about five years ago he said to me, “Fuzz, what do you think about slap hitting?” At first I was a little hesitant because it was completely different from hitting on the right side, but now I couldn’t imagine not hitting from the left side. There’s so much I can do. I can hit the ball, I can slap the ball, or I can bunt the ball. Plus it’s always fun to see how the opposing team plays me on defense. It’s kind of like a little game I play with myself, like lets see where I can put this ball.

Q: Why is your nickname Fuzzy?

A: When I was a baby, instead of hair on my head, it looked like I had fuzz. So my dad decided to call me Fuzzy and it’s stuck since.

Q: Who or what is your inspiration and why?

A: My brother, Kurtis. He is definitely my inspiration. In 2008, Kurt was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I have never had so much respect and admiration for anyone in my life like I do for Kurtis.

He is one of the strongest people I have ever met, because even when he was sick he never once let it stop him from doing or getting what he wanted. Also, he’s one of the smartest people I know. Whenever I have a question or a problem, Kurtis is always there to help me. It may not always be what I want to hear but I know he has my best interest in mind.

Kurtis is doing really well. He’s been in remission for five years now. As for dealing with it, you don’t really have a choice. You just know the mail focus is on getting Kurtis better.

Q: What do you want to do for the rest of your life?

A: Becoming a famous actress is definitely what I plan on doing with my life. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big in my opinion. I don’t think the greats became great by dreaming small.

Q: What is the most special thing about being a part of this team?

A: The most special thing? Definitely the friendships I’ve made. Some of my life long best friends have been made because of softball and I thank the sport every day for that.

Q: Tell me a story about what helped shape you into who you are today.

A: I watched this documentary on Netflix about a year ago. It was called “The Secret,” and it’s made me into the person I am today.

“The Secret” is all about the law of attraction. If you think it, it will happen. You attract everything in your life, whether good or bad. I’m more positive and grateful about all of the good things in my life.

I would highly recommend other people to watch it if you’re ever in need of a little reassurance about life. You manifest your own destiny and when you truly understand that concept, you’ll be able to do amazing things.

Q: What are your plans for after high school, and is softball in your future?

A: After high school I am moving to California with family. I am taking a year off to establish residency and I plan on working. As for softball, after my travel season is over, I’m done playing.

Q: Tell me a question I forgot to ask and then answer it.

A: What is some advice you’d give to your peers?

Never judge a person for what they cannot change. The only thing you should judge a person on is how they choose to treat others.