HARWICH – For the past few seasons, Monomoy's Sam Barr has made a name for herself on the Shark girls varsity softball team. Come fall, Barr will be swimming with a new shiver of sharks after signing her official letter of intent on March 7 to play softball for Simmons University in Boston.
Barr's softball career actually began when she was just out of toddlerhood, swinging a bat in tee ball. By the time Barr was in third grade the Harwich resident was playing regularly through a local league, eventually working her way up to a spot on a Cape Cod Chaos travel team.
What drew her to the sport was its ability to offer the benefits of being part of a team while also honing one's personal skills.
“I liked it because it's definitely a team sport,” said Barr. “I like being on the team. I like having other players almost as a support system. It's also something where I can focus on my individual talent as well. It goes hand in hand. I can focus on individual skills like hitting and fielding and get the technique for that, and as an infielder I can work with my other infielders on situational stuff.”
Barr also appreciates the complexities the game offers.
“The sport has definitely taught me a lot about perseverance [since] this is a sport that is characterized by a lot of failure,” Barr said. “It's very hard to be very good at the sport, especially in hitting. If you hit two out of five balls, that's great. It's taught me that no matter what, as long as you keep trying and working hard, you'll eventually get where you need to be.”
Initially, as Barr progressed from youth sports to playing at the varsity level in high school, she wasn't sure what role softball would play in her life beyond Monomoy. She soon realized, however, that life without her favorite game wouldn't be the same.
“I realized that two years ago,” she said. “I was playing for the Cape Cod Chaos and wasn't really sure I wanted to play in college or not, but as I started thinking about going to college, I realized I wouldn't be myself without it. I don't think I'd be able to function as I do without the sport.”
Barr said the opportunities she's had to play on different teams with several coaches have enriched her softball experience immensely.
“It definitely helped in realizing that the game is very different in many aspects,” she said. “High school is different from travel teams. [At each level] teams are different, players are different, and it helped me adapt to certain situations.”
Her coaches, Barr said, have been powerful motivators that have encouraged her to find her own footing in the sport.
“They allowed me to just be myself when I play. To be confident in myself,” Barr said. “That's allowed me to really thrive, to know that I am good enough. Especially in a sport where failure is a part of the game, being able to have that confidence in myself has helped me to overcome these failures.”
Barr will be pursuing a career as a physical therapist and has been accepted into the strenuous Simmons PT program, which is also exciting for Barr, who said that the opportunity to focus on her future career while also being able to still play the game she loves is something she's grateful for.
“Having softball has allowed me to really choose where I wanted to go based on academics,” Barr said. “It definitely made me feel more relaxed since the PT program is very rigorous and hard to get into. It's going to be a lot of work [but] I have the chance to play. I'm just excited to keep playing.”
Barr said the chance to play for and work with a new coach is also something she's looking forward to, and that at the same time she intends to hold onto the many lessons learned from her coaches on the Cape.
“I just want to thank all of my coaches, and my dad and mom for being so supportive,” Barr said. “They've allowed me to become the player I am today.”
Barr's senior season with the Monomoy Sharks begins at the end of the month with a home game on March 27 against Mashpee, weather permitting. Even if the start of the season arrives in the midst of a cold snap as it did last year, Barr will be ready.
“I love the game,” she said. “If I could play it forever, I would.”