The Ultimate athlete is a student who trains hard and is committed to excellence, on and off the field. Their work ethic, dedication, determination, and mental toughness is what makes these athletes truly exceptional. Each week the Country Herald will support these incredible student-athletes in our series, The Ultimate.
This week’s Ultimate is Gabrielle Dismang, a senior at BBCHS. Gabrielle plays softball for BBCHS and travel ball for the River Valley Rage. Gabrielle’s Rage team took second place this year in the 16U “B” Eastern World Series. When described by her Rage softball coach, Ron Zielinski, he said, “Gabbie has played travel softball for us at River Valley Rage for several years now. Gabbie is a strong player with a big bat, her greatest quality is her leadership that she brings to the team.”
“Gabbie is a team player that is constantly laughing and smiling and inspiring her teammates,” Zielinski continued. “Gabbie shows her leadership skills and enthusiasm every time she plays. Always laughing and smiling, she cheer[s] on her teammates, does everything she [can] to make them better, and always has their back. Gabbie is a great girl that everyone loves being around.”
Gabrielle, who are your heroes in life and what do you admire about them?
My first hero would have to be my grandma, Lynn Woods. I admire the fact that she’s gone through a lot and has always looked on the bright side of it all. She’s been battling cancer for a while but is still smiley every single day. My second hero would be my mother. I admire that she’s a very stable and loving woman and an amazing single mother of three beautiful daughters. She’s also been through a lot, just like my grandma. I can see where she gets her strength from. She’s an amazing mother, always thinking about others before herself.
Who is your favorite athlete, and why?
I know I play softball, but my favorite athlete has to be Clay Matthews (football player for the Los Angeles Rams). Why? because he’s ALWAYS focused, happy, outgoing, and if a mistake is made, he shakes it off. He’s always ready to go and has his head in the game once he walks on that field. He’s definitely been an inspiration to me for a while.
What’s your favorite sports team?
The Green Bay Packers of course!
When did you first get involved in sports?
I would say I was about six years old.
Gabrielle, what’s your future aspirations after high school?
After high school I will attended KCC for my general education. Soon after that is done I’ll go to Prairie State University in Chicago Heights for their two year dental hygienist program.
Have you ever had any nail-biting incidents that have had a happy ending?
Yes, about a month ago my team had a game against a really good team and the score was 4-4. But the timer went off and the umpire said we’d finish the inning but at the end of the inning we were still tied!!!! So, we had to go into a international tie breaker, and we scored two runs and won the game 6-4.
Where is your favorite place to go on vacation?
I’d have to say The Bahamas or Costa Rica. Besides the nasty big bugs and how hot it is, its an amazing experience
Do you think attitude is a factor in winning?
Yes of course. A bad attitude will lead to stress and making more mistakes. But if you’re happy and well focused you will be able to do what needs to be done.
Have you had any serious injuries? If so, how did you deal with these and overcome the obstacles?
I wouldn’t say serious, but I tend to sometimes throw side arm, so I develop what’s called a Stress Response to my right ulnar sublime tubercle. I iced before, during, and after the game(s). Then after a while, I went to see a local doctor to help get the correct motion.
Is it difficult for you to balance sports with schoolwork?
Of course not. School work always comes first. Anytime I get to look at my notes or study guide I do so.
What’s your favorite movie or TV show?
My favorite movie would have to be the Jurassic Park movies, I have no clue why, but I just wish dinosaurs still were around. My favorite TV Show is Friends or How I Met Your Mother.
Gabrielle, what is a typical day like for you?
Waking up for school then going to work/practice, whichever one I have that day. Then I come home and If I have time too see friends I always try too.
What would you say the role of a sports parent is?
The role of the parents is to make sure their kid, and even [their kids]teammates, have what the need in order to play the game. Always be kind.
What would you say the role of the athlete’s coach is?
The role of the coaches I’d say is the same. Also, [to] not get upset after a mistake [has been made] in the game. There’s nothing they can do. That’s what I like most about my coaches. I don’t remember one time where I’ve been yelled at. Or any of my teammates.
How does athletics make you a better student or worker?
It really keeps me active and releases some stress.
What are some words of encouragement you would give a younger athlete?
Stay positive. Stay aware. And stay strong for your team. Once you make a mistake, take it, crush it in your hands and throw it away. There is nothing you can to do about it, so why bother feeling upset? You’ll have another chance to show people what you really can do.
Know a local athlete that you believe is The Ultimate? Tell us who you would like spotlighted by completing the form here, at gocorn.org/athlete.
Note: Interview maybe edited for length and clarity.