On June 18, 2015, the USA National Softball Team played the Maryland All-Stars in La Plata, MD at Regency Furniture Stadium. Softball Factory had the distinct privilege of interviewing two members from the USA National team, Lauren Gibson and Raven Chavanne.
Gibson is a three-time Softball World Cup gold medalist, a two-time First-Team All-American and a College World Series champion with the Tennessee Lady Vols. Raven, who also attended Tennessee, was a Top 10 Softball Player of the Year finalist during all four years of college, a NCFA All-American and was drafted 13th overall by the Chicago Bandits in 2013. Beyond their obvious success and pedigree, the two girls have a genuine love for the game.
“I started playing the game at four years old and what started out as a fun outing with friends quickly turned into a sport I focused on with the additional benefit of being able to bond with my Dad,” Chavanne said.
However, Raven was a two-sport star athlete in high school, excelling both in track and softball. “I primarily used track to help enhance my speed to become a better softball player.”
While she was honing her skills in becoming a more effective base runner, she managed to set the record for the 100-meter dash at Holds Newbury Park in California.
For Lauren, a Maryland native and graduate of Chesapeake High School, playing in La Plata was a bit of a homecoming.
“While I played college ball at Tennessee, a lot of my friends and family didn’t get a chance to see me play. It’s great to be able to come back and have them here to come see me play and support Team USA.”
She has a considerable number of fans in the area because she helped lead Chesapeake High School in back-to-back 4-A State Championships, pitching two no-hitters, which she described as an “awesome, amazing experience.”
As a consequence of their outstanding backgrounds in sports at the high school and collegiate level, it was only natural that their athletic excellence would lead them to becoming key members of the Team USA. Both players handle their responsibilities as a USA representative with honor and grace. “It’s amazing to get up in the morning and have ‘USA’ marked across your chest. It’s truly surreal,” says Gibson. Raven agreed with her teammate, saying, “It’s really a dream come true. It’s something a lot of young kids aspire to do growing up, so for my dream to become a reality..it makes me feel blessed and very thankful for the opportunity.”
While both feel lucky for having earned the opportunity in representing the United States in competitive softball play, they both agree that hard work was the main ingredient in achieving their success. “My biggest advice to young players is to keep working hard,” Gibson explains. “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too small, you’re too this or you’re too that. I never thought I would achieve this level of success so I kept working hard to make my dream come true.”
Raven agreed with her teammate, “Don’t listen to your detractors. I was told I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t fast enough, couldn’t play 18-and-under ball. Work hard and the game will reward you.”
Lauren Gibson and Raven Chavanne are a testament to the idea that hard work and perseverance pays off. While they have attained remarkable success, do not expect them to rest on their laurels, as they will continue to work hard to get better at their craft. With a great attitude and strong work ethic, the USA National Softball Team is in good hands with Lauren and Raven as they maintain focus on helping America win a gold medal.