SOFTBALL: Rogers, mother share special 'Senior Night' bond

·3 min read

Jul. 30—Her senior year hasn't even started yet, but Emily Rogers already has a significant date circled on her calendar.

No, it isn't prom or graduation. This occasion has an emotional connection to not just her but her family as well.

Tuesday, Sept. 20 against Edison is Senior Night for Claremore softball, but it is not just any senior night. It will mark the second time Rogers and her mother Betty share the moment at the Lady Zebra diamond.

Betty, who also played softball at Claremore and was a member of the 2003 state championship team, gave birth to Rogers as a high school junior in December 2004.

"I got to walk with her on her senior night, and now she gets to walk with me on my senior night," Rogers said. "My mom talks about it all the time. I think it really means the world to my mom. I just think every shared experience we have means a lot to my mom. She always talks about how being a mom is her favorite thing ever. She's obviously my best friend, so I know it means a lot to her and it means a lot to me, too.

"I grew up watching her get to play, and she's just always been there to support me."

It is that bond the two share that drew Rogers to a life of softball.

Betty never let her circumstances of becoming a young mother affect her ability to be a good role model for her daughter. In fact, Rogers began playing tee-ball at 4 years old because she was so eager to be like her mom.

She sharpened her skills over the years under the tutelage of Betty, who coached her throughout her childhood. Rogers eventually made the move to competitive club softball as a student-athlete in junior high before becoming a four-year starter for the Lady Zebras.

"When I think of something that's kind of changed my view of softball and always pushed me, I think of my mom," Rogers said. "That's really what it's been, what's pushed me during softball. She passes out a lot of knowledge and a lot of things to live by, like you never give up on anything. There's no excuse to be lazy or to not do your very best. She's just always held me to a high standard, and it it's really made me better not only softball, but in a lot of aspects of life."

Luckily for Rogers, her parents managed the struggles of teenage parenting and are happily married to this day.

"(My dad) hasn't always been able to go to all the games because he's usually working to pay for me getting to travel or play wherever, but I really appreciate that," Rogers said. "He goes through as much as he can."

Betty is now a legal assistant at a local law firm while Rogers' father, Michael, works at a metal shop in Tulsa. Both parents raised her to have a strong work ethic, and she has certainly benefited from their teachings.

Their hard work inspired her to chase her dreams, and upon graduation, Rogers plans to move to Norman to study to become a doctor at the University of Oklahoma.

She won't be playing softball anymore, but thanks to her upbringing, she knows she will be successful in all her future endeavors.

"They just always supported me," Rogers said. "They told me that nothing's out of reach if I just put my mind to it, and they've showed that in their lives, too. They continue to work hard, and I see them work hard all the time, so it's just really been an example for me. In my house, there's no other option but to work hard, and I think that's made me a lot better person.

"In addition to thanking my coaches and my parents, I just wanted to thank God because He's always led me and has given me the talent, ability and opportunity to be here."