Kristin Hasbrouck played softball throughout middle school, high school and college, and now teaches P.E. as the athletics director at Wendell Middle School. She is the mother of three boys who follow in her footsteps as athletes.
Q: When did you start playing softball?
A: I started at seventh grade in recreational leagues. I played softball at East Wake, and then I played at Elon College. I was all-conference two years at East Wake as catcher.
Q: Did you play any other sports coming up?
A: I cheered in middle school, and in high school at East Wake.
Q: Did you enjoy softball more, or were they both kind of twin passions for you?
A: They were both passions of mine. I had the best of both worlds.
Q: Did you have any particularly memorable games or experiences while playing (or cheering)?
A: Miriam Strickland was my coach at East Wake High School. I just learned a lot from Coach Strickland, for life, and for coaching. I took what I learned from her when I started coaching softball, and when I started teaching. I used a lot of what she taught us, and I still do.
Q: What kind of impact did sports in general have on you when you were growing up?
A: My dad played sports. There’s four of us, I have a twin brother and two younger siblings. We followed my dad playing rec league sports around Wendell. Then we went into sports. I continued on into college to play sports, and that’s what I chose as my career – healthful living, which is physical education and health. My brother was the punter for East Carolina.
Q: When you’re not playing softball, what do you do for fun?
A: Spending time watching our boys play. I love doing crafting stuff, too, mainly just scrapbooking, which is mainly spent on the boys.
Q: What was it like going from being an athlete to being an administrator?
A: It was different. A lot of times I wanted to get on the field and play, but I had that strong background from Coach Strickland, so it was an easy transition to coaching. I used what they would use in practice, so I just had to switch gears, to not be the athlete, and to be the coach. I also found out early on that there was a lot of stuff behind the scenes that you had to take care of on the logistical side of things, like who’s going to drive the bus (that’s me), and who’s bringing the equipment.
Q: You’ve mentioned your parents a few times. What kind of impact did they have on you?
A: My parents have been a big influence. They attended every game that my brothers and sister participated in. So they were always there to watch us and to cheer us on. That’s one thing that my husband and I have taken to our kids. We’re always there at their games, too. My parents were on the road a lot, especially in college. Wherever we played, they were there to support us. And now they’ve started with the grandchildren.
Q: What was it like for you becoming a parent?
A: It was a learning experience. We had to split ourselves in three different directions. Our boys wanted to be in every sport, and we let them choose. They went from soccer to basketball to baseball, and we went with them to all of them.
Q: Do your kids enjoy sports, too?
A: My oldest, Ian, in high school at East Wake played basketball and baseball. My middle son, Eric, plays football and baseball at East Wake right now. And then Brendan is an eighth-grader with me at Wendell Middle School. He plays basketball and baseball. I guess baseball and softball runs in the family. My husband, Jon, has coached well over 28 years in soccer.
Q: Do you find any interesting parallels between your sports experience and your experience as an administrator or a parent? Are there any aspects of one that reminds you of the other?
A: Organization. Being organized and being willing to change. Doing what’s needed, whether you’re the athlete or the teacher. Being supportive. Knowing that the plan that you have may change in an instant, and so you have to be able to adapt. When you’re on the field, the ball’s not always going to come to you. And life’s the same way. There are obstacles, an official might not show up, or a tire might go flat, and you just have to be able to adjust and say “OK, what do we do now? Where do we go?” And everyone’s going to make mistakes, but you have to be willing to learn from them, because nobody’s perfect.
Q: Out of everything, what are you most proud of?
A: I could say so much about everything. I’m proud of my boys, and my athletes at school. I’m proud of their perseverance in school and sports, how they keep going.
Q: Have you had the privilege of seeing your coaching and teaching impact someone?
A: I have had a couple of students come back and say “I’m a P.E. teacher now.” I have seen where kids have come back to me, even the kids that I coached 28 years ago, have gotten in touch with me, and have found me on Facebook, and have told me, “I remember when… That was my favorite time of middle school.” It’s days like that when the kids see you in the hallway and they say “Hey, Mrs. Hasbrouck!” That’s what makes it all worthwhile.
Staff writer Nathan Custis