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Rocky Hulne: Being a solid teammate goes beyond the box score

May 15—It's easy to see who the elite athletes are on a team, but it's a little tougher to find out who the elite teammates are.

With a little observation, it's not hard to find them. In the past couple of weeks, I noticed a few local athletes who were doing more than their fair share to give back and help out when nobody was requiring them to do so.

The three elite teammates I noticed were Austin softball player Jenna Hetzel, Blooming Prairie baseball player Zack Hein, and Hayfield softball player Natalie Beaver.

Whether she's playing softball, basketball or volleyball, Beaver has always been a solid teammate with the Vikings. She always gives it her all and she never complains.

But last week I had to do a double-take when I saw Beaver volunteering to help out a different kind of athlete. She was helping run the parachute station at the Zumbro Education District Activity Day for special needs students. It was heartwarming to see a well accomplished athlete who will be playing basketball at Luther College next year take time and give back to her community.

Hein is well known for his time on the basketball court with the Awesome Blossoms, but he's been the ace pitcher for the Blooming Prairie baseball team, which is enjoying its best season since 2018. On the day I noticed Hein, he wasn't even playing for the Awesome Blossoms. He was nursing an injury that was keeping him out of the lineup and he was relegated to running the scoreboard and coaching first base.

While doing those two things were impressive enough, Hein also spent much of the day encouraging his teammates, even after the team fell behind 9-0. He was especially supportive of freshman pitcher Gabe Staloch, who pitched well in Hein's absence.

Hetzel showed exactly how one should handle a less than ideal situation. Her attitude was refreshing as she had started for the Packers earlier this season, but she was not in the starting lineup against East. Instead of sulking or complaining, Hetzel volunteered to keep stats during the game and she was highly engaged and attentive while cheering her teammates on.

Small things like the noted contributions of Hein, Beaver and Hetzel never show up in the box score and they aren't always noticed by fans, but it's small actions like these that help build a program and improve a community. If every player stays positive and does the little things right, the experience will be better for the entire team.

It's easy to see who the elite athletes are on a team, but it's a little tougher to find out who the elite teammates are.

With a little observation, it's not hard to find them. In the past couple of weeks, I noticed a few local athletes who were doing more than their fair share to give back and help out when nobody was requiring them to do so.

The three elite teammates I noticed were Austin softball player Jenna Hetzel, Blooming Prairie baseball player Zack Hein, and Hayfield softball player Natalie Beaver.

Whether she's playing softball, basketball or volleyball, Beaver has always been a solid teammate with the Vikings. She always gives it her all and she never complains.

But last week I had to do a double-take when I saw Beaver volunteering to help out a different kind of athlete. She was helping run the parachute station at the Zumbro Education District Activity Day for special needs students. It was heartwarming to see a well accomplished athlete who will be playing basketball at Luther College next year take time and give back to her community.

Hein is well known for his time on the basketball court with the Awesome Blossoms, but he's been the ace pitcher for the Blooming Prairie baseball team, which is enjoying its best season since 2018. On the day I noticed Hein, he wasn't even playing for the Awesome Blossoms. He was nursing an injury that was keeping him out of the lineup and he was relegated to running the scoreboard and coaching first base.

While doing those two things were impressive enough, Hein also spent much of the day encouraging his teammates, even after the team fell behind 9-0. He was especially supportive of freshman pitcher Gabe Staloch, who pitched well in Hein's absence.

Hetzel showed exactly how one should handle a less than ideal situation. Her attitude was refreshing as she had started for the Packers earlier this season, but she was not in the starting lineup against East. Instead of sulking or complaining, Hetzel volunteered to keep stats during the game and she was highly engaged and attentive while cheering her teammates on.

Small things like the noted contributions of Hein, Beaver and Hetzel never show up in the box score and they aren't always noticed by fans, but it's small actions like these that help build a program and improve a community. If every player stays positive and does the little things right, the experience will be better for the entire team.