By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
When you play sports, you’re tough.
When you play third base for the Belton Lady Tigers and field line shots at the hot corner, you’re a special kind of tough.
Toughness: On the field, in the dugout, in the community and in the classroom.
These are the ABC’s of the 2015 Chuck Kelly Memorial Scholarship awardee Brittany Bass.
Bass was awarded the scholarship at the 2015 Belton Educational Enrichment Foundation Scholarship Ceremony held on Monday night at Belton High School’s Performing Arts Center by Zona Kelly, Chuck’s wife.
Influential and multi-talented, Bass inspires to help the community through her work in the community and through the classroom.
“I’m extremely grateful for receiving this scholarship,” Bass said. “I think it’s pretty awesome that such kind and generous people like Zona choose to give in their loved ones memory. It gives the scholarship more meaning and to receive it makes me feel very special, especially since I am an athlete and I do play softball.”
Charles “Chuck” Kelly was Sports Editor for the Lampasas Dispatch Record from 1988 until 2006 and was The Belton Journal’s Sports Editor from 2006 until his death on August 2, 2012. Kelly was influential in several communities around Texas, including being a three-term mayor in Lometa, was on the Lometa City Council for two years, served as a director for the Belton Area and Lampasas Chambers of Commerce, Central Texas Council of Governments, Temple-Fort Hood Area Communities in Schools, Sprint-Centel Regional Citizens Advisory Committee member, Lometa Lions member and American Legion member. Chuck was a huge Tigers and Lady Tigers’ fan and actively covered the team through his Sports Editor days at The Belton Journal.
“I often joke with kids who sign up for AP courses during their senior year,” Belton head coach Matt Blackburn said. “And ask them what they are thinking. It almost becomes a chore to go to school, instead of enjoying it. You get that “senioritis” and are ready to move on. Brittany is one who is very dedicated to her studies and she wants to be a doctor. She’s definitely been a model student in terms of taking care of business in the classroom and deal with the in-season stuff on the field. It’s hard for those kids to stay concentrated this time of year, to stay focused in the classroom and then to pile on softball on top of it makes it even more difficult. She’s never been one I have been worried about when it comes to grades.”
The legacy of Kelly is one that Bass has lots of potential and ambition to pursue. Bass has the role model part of latter high school life down pat.
“I guess being a role model for others is somewhat humbling for me,” Bass said. “Throughout my high school years I’ve most definitely grown up. I just hope my role modeling is used to make people want to work harder, not give up and achieve goals.”
A four-year player on the Belton Lady Tigers softball team, the talented third baseman is heading for Texas A&M University to study to be a cardio thoracic surgeon. She’s been studying hard the last four years and has carefully balanced her studies and softball.
“I want to become a cardio thoracic surgeon and help save lives,” Bass said. “I am completely fascinated with the idea of becoming a doctor and helping others. I also want to travel the world and explore the different cultures of life along with missionary work. After all of that fun stuff, I plan on having a huge family!”
All student-athletes run into issues with the balance of sports versus studies. Bass conquered the challenges in her own way.
“The biggest challenge would probably have to be time management,” Bass said. “Having to study for classes and practice for softball as well as get enough sleep was pretty difficult. Last year I remember taking my textbook into the dugout with me, and reading in between innings for a huge test that I had the next day! It’s been tough, but it’s definitely helped me with learning how to use my time wisely.”
She may lace up the cleats at some point in her stay in College Station. But once she gets on campus, she is all business when it comes to her academics.
“I’m sad to be leaving softball,” Bass admitted. “But excited to start my next chapter in my life.”
With Kelly’s love for the Lady Tigers’ softball team, Blackburn felt it was fitting for Bass to receive the scholarship.
“Chuck was always supportive of the girls and of my efforts,” Blackburn said. “He always seemed to enjoy himself at our games and it’s fitting that Brittany was awarded the scholarship.”
One of the most humble and likeable student-athletes, Bass gives credit to her parents, coaches and educators for her success.
“My parents and coaches have meant more than the world to me. The parents I am so lucky to have is the reason why I have the sense of character, and mindset that I do. The love and support from them is endless. They’ve taught me how to be the kind of person, one should be. I owe everything to them because of what they’ve done for me. My coaches, they’ve been the parents beside my parents. They have taught me the true meaning of working hard to compete for what I want. The awesome thing about all of the coaches that I have had is that they truly care about me. My coaches have gotten me to where I am now and what they’ve taught me will carry out the rest of my goals not through sports but in life. I’m so thankful for both my parents and my coaches.”