School will be starting in a few weeks, and Hillsboro eighth grader Dani Klein already knows what she will tell her teachers when they ask what she did over the summer.
“The first thing I’m going to say is I was never home for more than four days in a row,” Dani said.
This is because Dani, who just turned 14, has been playing on a Texas softball team called Texas Glory Futures, located out of McKinney, Texas, almost every weekend.
Dani started on the team last August and practices at home before weekend games during the school year, when she cannot travel as often.
“In the summer we’ll try to get her down for some practices,” her mother, Kim, said, “but in the fall you can’t do that.”
Dani wanted to play softball after seeing her older sister, Madison, play for competitive teams. Dani began playing for Hillsboro rec, and then played for a softball team in Wichita.
“There isn’t a lot of softball here with girls playing travel ball, so that’s why we had to look out to Wichita,” Kim said. “Since her sister had played there before, we got connected up with those teams.”
After playing for Wichita, Dani was asked to try out for the Texas team by a recruiter.
“She’s young, so they’re not actively recruiting her at this point, but she has someone doing that for her,” Kim said. “Texas Glory is kind of a big team down there. It’s one of the higher level teams. We kind of knew about it, so we thought we’d give it a try.”
Dani plays multiple positions, including shortstop and second base, and plans to play softball as long as she can.
“I love it,” she said. “I want to go to college for it.”
Being on a competitive team like Texas has given Dani a chance to grow in a sport she loves.
“I’ve learned to dive really well to catch a ball,” Dani said. “It’s a really big achievement for me I feel like.”
Playing with a traveling team means seeing a lot of new places.
Texas Glory has traveled all over Texas for games, but Dani’s favorite place to play has been closer to home.
“I really liked Colorado,” she said. “Colorado was really fun.”
The team also has played in Kansas City, and planned to go to California, but the team did not get the opportunity to play there.
“That probably would have been my favorite,” Dani said.
Not only does Dani play on a team, but it also takes a team back home to help her participate so far away.
Kim normally is Dani’s travel companion on the road to games, and while they are gone, her husband and kids are there to hold down the fort.
However, sometimes work does not allow her to go.
“When they went to Colorado, I couldn’t go, so then Madison and her grandma went with her,” Kim said. “It’s kind of a family effort.”
Off the field, Dani likes to continue to stay active.
“I like to hang out with my friends a lot and play other sports, like volleyball or basketball,” Dani said. “I’m a sports person, so I like being active.”
Her best times on the field is when she’s at bat.
“The first hit you get after that slump is probably the best feeling you could ever have as a batter,” Dani said. “I’m not even kidding.”