Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sallisaw Girl Plans Softball Trip to Europe

Kirsten Hamilton of Sallisaw is an all-American girl.

She’s a freshman student at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS) and the 18-year-old daughter of Buddy Hamilton of Sallisaw. She’s also a softball player who took the year off.

But now she’s planning to go back to the playing field. Kirsten has been invited to join the Student Athlete World Tours trip to Holland and France where she will participate with other softball players in a softball tournament.

“I’m super excited,” Kirsten said. “I cannot wait!”

The tour will take place July 11 through 20, and Kirsten must fund $4,500 for the tour herself. Supporters can help her out by visiting her gofundme page at Kirsten’s World Athlete World Tour.

Kirsten explains on her page, “Players from all over the country will join together to compete on an international stage. This educational and athletic experience of a lifetime will give me the opportunity to explore new cultures, give me a better understanding of the world around me, allow me to meet people from all over the world, and learn valuable life lessons through international travel. Players are chosen for this trip from a pool of applicants from around the country based on a combination of athletic attributes as well as academics, leadership abilities, and character. Any donation you can give would go directly towards the team’s expenses. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to participate in international sport competition. We’ll do our best to show good sportsmanship and represent the USA with class. Thank you for your support.” ​

Kirsten was nominated for the award by her high school coach, Darren Briggs, she explained. But acceptance to the USA team wasn’t easy. She said she had to submit a video and be interviewed by Student World Tours.

A softball player since the age of 4, Kirsten has played softball, in center field, for 14 years, most recently for Sallisaw High School where she was named All Conference in her junior and senior years. But when it was time to go off to college, Kirsten said she was ready to quit softball, at least for a while.

She said, “I was a little burned out.”

The enticement of nine days in Holland and France, from July 11 through 20, has drawn Kirsten back to the ballfield.

The trip begins in Amsterdam where the USA team will not only prepare to play European teams, they will also be able to visit local sites, such as the Anne Frank House, take a canal cruise, and have dinners with karaoke, a barbeque and a players party. They will go on to Apeldoorn for the tournament then head for Paris where they will see the Arc de Triomphe and travel up the Eiffel tower before flying home.

“I just want to travel,” said the personable Kirsten. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve maybe visited four states. We’ll get to see the Eiffel tower in Paris!”

In the meantime Kirsten continues her studies at UAFS where she is majoring in criminal justice. Kirsten said she wants to work for the FBI as a profiler, which may seem a strange career choice for a young, warm all-American girl. But Kirsten has higher goals in mind.

Her dad is an Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) trooper, and Kirsten can see a career in law enforcement too.

She explained, “I like to figure out the way people think,” to help make the world better.

Kirsten would like to join the military, which her dad was against, but he has begun to change his mind, she said. A few years in the military or even the OHP could help her make her way into the FBI.

Until then, this all-American girl from Sallisaw will make her way out into the big wide world in Europe, play a little softball, see the sites, and have some fun.

Kirsten will come back to make her way back to college, a career and into an adult life as a world-traveled woman.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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