Nevaeh Crane’s positive influence as a dual-sport athlete for the Rams

Published 1:52 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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Every athlete likes to believe that they can lead a team either statistically or emotionally. However, few athletes in the county and around the state have embodied leadership like Valley senior Nevaeh Crane. 

Crane started at shortstop this season for Valley’s softball team as one of just two seniors on the team. Crane was also the leader on Valley’s backline during volleyball season. 

The two sports have consumed most of Crane’s free time for several years and have become a major part of her life and high school journey. 

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“They’ve been really important because [they have] taught me a lot of lessons, and I’ve built a lot of meaningful relationships through the two sports,” Crane said. “It’s taught me a lot about time management, prioritizing and how important friendships are.” 

Crane started playing softball as a seventh grader and took her talents to the volleyball net as a sophomore. Throughout her high school career, Crane has seen several peaks and valleys in each sport. 

Crane’s senior season has been full of turmoil. Crane has served as one of just a few seniors in both sports. Softball season came to an end for Valley as the Rams lost in the area tournament on Saturday, and the Rams had their fair share of trials during volleyball season. 

Despite having to endure a tough season, Crane remained a positive influence for both programs. Before every match, Crane could be seen encouraging her teammates, flashing a smile and spreading positivity throughout the gym or field. 

Both the volleyball and softball teams were made up of younger players. The softball team’s roster was almost entirely filled with underclassmen along with junior high players. With that in mind, Crane tried to become a source of encouragement and knowledge for her younger teammates. 

“I think a positive influence is good, especially for younger athletes. The goal of a game is to win, but there’s also lessons you learn within that,” Crane said. “They’re more open to learning when they see positivity. You seem more friendly as well, so if they have any questions they need to ask, they don’t feel scared.” 

“It’s hard to be positive sometimes, but I try my best to because positivity can go a lot longer way than negativity when it comes to every aspect of sports,” Crane added. 

Crane was thrust into a leadership role as a senior despite not being an extremely vocal person. Crane learned to speak more than she was likely comfortable with, but she also learned how to be a leader through her actions. 

“I like to lead through example. I try my best to act the way I want them to,” Crane said. “That’s where the positivity comes in because I want them to be positive. I want them to see me putting in hard work so that they’ll put in hard work.” 

Crane learned to be an encouragement to her teammates and lead the younger players, but she also took it a step further. 

Every high school coach pours into their athletes. Valley softball and volleyball coach, Madyson Messer, is one of the more passionate coaches in the area. Any coach hates to lose, and Crane saw her coaches get discouraged at times during her senior season. 

Most athletes wouldn’t think twice about their coaches after a loss, but Crane tried to constantly be an encouragement even with her coaches. 

“Sometimes you can see when your coaches are getting down, and I try to reassure my coaches,” Crane said. “I try to hustle with everything that I do, not just because that’s what the coaches expect but because that’s an important thing to do in sports.” 

Crane already has her future planned for after she graduates this Spring, and as you may have guessed, she is going to continue helping others. Crane plans to continue her education at Chattahoochee Valley Community College before later pursuing a doctorate to become a nurse practitioner. 

“That’s another thing I discovered in myself while playing sports,” Crane said. “If somebody is struggling and I have the ability to help them, I want to do all that I can to help them improve or just uplift their attitude. Helping people is a major passion in my life.” 

Crane is from Valley and is a true Ram. Crane is involved with Rambassadors and helps the school with freshman orientation. Crane has grown to love her hometown, and she hopes others see how great being a part of the Ram family can be.