Brooklyne Carr to play for Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It’s always nice to see my dad standing down the base line coaching me on. -- COURTESY | BROOKLYNE CARR

It’s always nice to see my dad standing down the base line coaching me on. — COURTESY | BROOKLYNE CARR

By Desiree Urquhart / Contributor

For most of us, it takes years — sometimes a lifetime — to know our stations in life. Not for Brooke Carr. She’s claimed two of them since she was 5 years old, and has stared her baby blues down more chalk lines on a diamond than most little girls.

Brooklyne Carr

Brooklyne Carr

Meet Brooklyne Mckenzie Carr, a senior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and a Saints varsity softball player who will be signing with the Randolph-Macon College Yellow Jackets softball team in April 2016.

Brooke’s “stations” are on first and third bases. Sometimes she plays outfield. She prefers first base, generally considered the power spot.

“I have a quick reaction time and can read the ball better off the bat,” said the confident Brooke.

Confidence is fueled by her stats and awards. Her batting average over the past couple of seasons hovers around .500, and she has logged an impressive record of doubles, triples, RBIs and stolen bases in her high school career. As a Saint, Brooke has earned several varsity softball awards — “All Conference” (8th through 11th grade) and “All State” (10th grade) —and served as captain of the team in 10th and 11th grade.

Brooke is a passionate and focused athlete. But often with intense play comes the risk of injury. She had to have surgery on her elbow in 2014 because of a trapped nerve between her bones, forcing her to take a break from the game during her junior year. But that setback did not stop her.

That moment I make contact with the ball is the best feeling I can have. -- COURTESY | BROOKLYNE CARR

That moment I make contact with the ball is the best feeling I can have. — COURTESY | BROOKLYNE CARR

Conviction and belief in her abilities continued to motivate her. After visiting R-MC last year, Brooke fell in love with the campus and its environment and believed it would be a great college fit after her June graduation.

She began emailing Yellow Jackets head coach Kevin Proffitt, inviting him to come see her play. Proffitt requested her tournament schedule and soon, both he and an assistant coach scouted her on separate occasions. Encouraged to keep in touch, Brooke continued to update Coach Proffitt on her season, resulting in an invitation to come to R-MC.

A Windsor resident, Brooke started school at NSA in kindergarten, around the same time her dad began teaching her the game of softball. Early on, Randy Carr, owner of Landworks Unlimited, recognized the joy in his youngest child’s eyes whenever they played ball in their back yard. Brooke respectfully claims him as her mentor and coach for the last 13 years.

“I remember how excited I was when dad gave me my first glove,” said the right-handed star player. “He has dedicated an enormous amount of time driving me to practices and serving as one of my coaches to help me get to the next level.”

Prior to becoming a Saint, Brooke played for the Virginia Legends, a traveling ball team based out of Virginia Beach, that played in tournaments up and down the east coast and across country, including in Texas and Oregon.

Although Randy served as a Legends coach, he was never lenient with his daughter.

“He treated me just like the other players,” said the grateful Brooke. “His focus was on teaching my teammates and me the game and showing us how to be better players.”

While dad has been on the ballfield, mom Frankie, a nurse anesthetist at Sentara Obici, serves as Brooke’s greatest inspiration.

“Whenever I fail, she’s there to push me, telling me to get back up and try it again. She’s always been my biggest fan in anything I have done.”

Whether on the softball diamond or in the classroom, Brooke is forever mindful that failure is not an option. In addition to softball, government, politics and math are her favorite subjects.

“I like solving problems and figuring things out on my own,” she said. Brooke currently maintains a 3.4 GPA and plans to major in business or pre-law at R-MC.

She also engages in extra-curricular activity and volunteer service. A dedicated member of the Breast Cancer Club at school, Brooke coordinates the “Free Pink Games” for all sports at NSA and manages the fundraising booth to raise money for the Susan G. Komen organization. During her junior year, she was involved with the Isle of Wight Student Leadership Chamber of Commerce.

Church and community are important to Brooke as well. She helps with Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at Millfield Baptist Church and enjoys meeting people at the Farmer’s Daughter Café in Windsor where she has worked part-time for the past two years.

As most teens, Brooke likes being with her friends and vacationing at the beach in Nags Head, North Carolina. She is a fan of country music and adores Carrie Underwood. She has traveled to several countries in Europe with NSA and is looking forward to spending spring break in Cozumel, Mexico with girlfriends.

“My friends have been with me since I was very young and I love my parents and my brother Cliff and my sister Tiffany. But nothing beats the relationship I had with Papa Frank,” Brooke said. While reflecting on the special bond she shared with her maternal grandfather, she confessed that Papa Frank is the reason why softball is so important to her.

As the oldest of Papa Frank’s grandchildren and his only granddaughter, Brooke was his “little princess.” She used to help him down on the farm in Gates County, North Carolina, where he taught her how to drive on his Chevy pick-up when she was eight years old.

“He came to every game, rain or shine, no matter how cold it got and always used to tell me I had a ‘real passion’ for the sport.” He taught her the importance of playing one game at a time, to put the last one behind her and to focus only on the next game. “Each game must feel new and fresh each time I go on the field. Papa Frank would expect that of me,” she says proudly.

Papa Frank passed away when Brooke was in the fourth grade. Now, before each game, she looks to the heavens and says a prayer to her grandfather. When asked what she would say to him just before her first game with the Yellow Jackets, Brooke said, “I’d tell him I miss him and that I know how proud he is of me going to college to play softball. I’ll also say, ‘Look how far I’ve made it, Papa Frank, because you had faith in my ability and never failed to dedicate time to me.’”

There’s no doubt that Papa Frank is looking down with pride. He also probably boasts to the other angels, “forget the glass slippers; this princess wears cleats!”