Athletes sometimes take unusual paths to the Olympic Games.
For softball-playing Kendyl Scott, that path may go something like this – La Quinta High School to Towson University in Maryland to the British National Team. You read that right, the British National Team.
Scott was granted dual citizenship earlier this year – her father Peter is British – and was notified Thursday that she made the 16-player roster of the British International Fastpitch Softball Team, the team that will work toward qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. (Remember there is no softball or baseball in the Rio Olympics, but it returns to the Games in 2020).
When Scott returned to the locker room after practice for Towson on Thursday night she had texts from her father Peter and her travel softball coach, letting her know she had made the team.
“Honestly, it’s absolutely amazing,” said Scott, who plays center field at Towson. “It really hasn’t set in yet, that this opportunity is in my hands. Just thinking about it, and letting myself think about what it would be like to be in the Olympics. It’s crazy.
“I mean, that’s the pinnacle of any sport, and I am so thankful for where I am right now.”
Scott, who was born in Rancho Mirage and graduated from La Quinta High School in 2014, is a sophomore at Towson where she received a softball scholarship. She has started all 34 games for Towson this year and is hitting .303, with 24 runs scored, four homers and 14 steals on 14 attempts.
The concept of playing for the British team only came about recently, and a trip to London in December fast-tracked the idea.
“My dad just gave me the idea initially, and then we researched it,” Scott said. “And then he actually surprised me with a family trip out to England, which was cool. I had a meeting with one of the people from the organization and they just spoke to me, trying to get to know me a little.”
The next step happened in San Francisco when one of the British coaches came to watch one of Kendyl’s games. The coach liked what she saw, and had a longer sit-down meeting with Scott, explaining what the team was about and how everything would work.
Meanwhile, with the help of Peter’s sister/Kendyl’s aunt in England, the process of attaining British citizenship was expedited and eventually came through.
The only thing left was for Scott to actually be chosen among the more than 100 applicants to make the 16-person team. That news came down Thursday. She made it.
“I had told my coaches (at Towson) but not my teammates, because I didn’t want to I guess flaunt it, because I know I’m blessed to be in position to have this opportunity,” said Scott, who doesn’t expect being part of the British team to disrupt her college career. “Now I’m excited to see their reaction.”
Over the next four years as the British Team prepares for the 2020 Games, they will be part of several world tournaments and Scott will be on those teams. The first one is this July in Surrey, Canada, where 31 nations will compete, including Great Britain and the United States.