LAKEWOOD RANCH — Tucked away deep inside the folds of Rachel Slowik’s softball bag is a special piece of paper swirled with calligraphy, which in some ways holds the key to many of life’s important lessons.
Twelve Bible versus grace the page — each one a source of inspiration for the Lakewood Ranch High senior. The artistic verses are a gift from her fraternal twin sister Becca, designed to provide Rachel with strength, courage and determination when the two aren’t playing together on the same field.
Prior to taking the field with her travel ball team, Rachel reaches into her bag and pulls out the verses, selecting a different one to read each time.
“It gives me a purpose for every day,” Rachel said.
Her sister agreed.
“Our faith is huge for both of us,” Becca said. “The strength we have in Christ helps us know who were are at the end of every day.”
For the past 18 years, Rachel and Becca have relied on one another and their faith to guide them; and now as the two are in the midst of their final season at Lakewood, the sisters are looking to make the most of their final season together on the same field.
“I want to make the most of it,” said Becca, the older of the two by one minute. “Once it’s over I think it’ll hit me harder than it does now. I just want to take away the most I can from this experience, especially since this is my last year playing with Rachel.”
The two sisters began playing softball when they were 5 years old while growing up in New Orleans. At the time, the two were more into basketball, but the athletic sisters continued to play softball every year.
When they were 12 years old, Rachel and Becca moved to Florida and joined a travel ball team. At that point, the two began taking softball more seriously.
“I like the competitiveness of it and being with all of the girls — it challenges me,” Rachel said.
“I like the team aspect and how close we are,” Becca said. “I also like the character that it builds because it’s such an individual sport.”
Although Becca admits that Rachel has always been more into the sport.
“I think it was because I was so used to playing … I just played softball with Rachel,” Becca said. “But I do like the sport.”
When they got to high school, the twins earned spots on Lakewood’s varsity team — Rachel at shortstop and Becca in the outfield.
This season, Rachel and Becca have helped lead the Lady Mustangs to a 12-1-1 record with eight games left to play before the district tournament.
Following this season, Becca will hang up her bat and glove and prepare for life after softball, which includes attending the State College of Florida.
Meanwhile, Rachel will continue playing travel ball for the Gold Coast Hurricanes out of Plantation before heading off to Florida International University to play softball for the Golden Panthers.
It’ll be an adjustment for the two sisters and best friends, who up until this travel ball season have rarely been apart on or off the field.
“I kind of experienced playing without Becca this past summer, and it was weird,” Rachel said. “I love playing with my sister, and I always learn a lot about character, myself and life. She makes it fun and she keeps me in line when I get a bad attitude or upset with myself, so it’ll definitely be an adjustment.”
Becca, who already is planning several road trips to Miami, agreed.
“I honestly don’t know what it’ll be like until it actually happens,” she said. “But she’s the most trustworthy and loyal person I know. It’s just a friendship that’s never going to be lost (no matter what).”
Contact Jen Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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