Madison Madara had a great softball career at Philadelphia Academy Charter, but next year at Holy Family, she’ll focus on nursing.
Madison Madara didn’t think she was good enough.
It turns out she was one of the best.
Madara was at the Philadelphia Academy Charter grade school, where the softball team was rolling right along.
The team was led by Brianna Donaghy, Hannah Higgins and Alison Kelble, and Madara feared she didn’t have what it took to be one of the standout players on the Chargers grade school team.
“I liked playing, but I knew they were good and I wasn’t sure how good I was,” Madara said. “I just didn’t have the confidence, I guess. But when I was in eighth grade, I decided to try out and I was pretty good.
“I was so happy once I got going. The other three accepted me right away, and we all became best friends. All of us. We’re all going to be best friends forever. This team was very close.”
Donaghy, Higgins, Kelble and Madara were dubbed the “Fab Four,” and together, they helped usher in a great run for the Philadelphia Academy Charter softball team.
The Chargers made the Public League championship in both Madara’s sophomore and junior campaigns. This year, they advanced to the semifinals before falling to Central in a revenge game for the Lancers.
It ended Philadelphia Academy Charter’s bid for a Public League crown, but it still proved to be a great year. The Chargers lost just once in the regular season and finished tied for the top spot in the division.
“It was really, really disappointing not winning,” said Madara, who started at third base and hit second in the order. “I think this was our year to win the Public League. We got so close the past two years and since we were all seniors, we really wanted to do it this year.
“I’m still upset about it, but it was a great year and I love what we did here. We had a great career. Making the championship was fun, but we really wanted to win and this was our year, so I’m disappointed, but I’m happy.”
The season didn’t have the fairytale ending Madara and mates hoped for, but it still was a successful one.
And the four-year run that this year’s senior class had put the Chargers on the softball map.
That’s something Madara will always be proud of.
“I think we had a great time here,” said Madara, who was in the National Honor Society. “It was so much fun, and it wasn’t just because we were winning. We were good, but we had fun because we played so hard together. We’ve wanted to win so we could play more. We wanted to win together. We all played hard for each other.”
Madara is quick to heap huge amounts of praise on her teammates and coaches.
But she also knew she played a big role in the success, even if she wasn’t entirely comfortable talking about it.
“I just did whatever I needed to do, everyone really worked hard,” Madara said. “I guess I was the vocal leader when we needed it. We had great coaches and everyone listened. But I would do what we needed. I hit second so I could move runners over, and I tried to play my position. I think the four seniors tried to lead the way and we all did it in our own way. We would help wherever we could.”
Madara isn’t just a leader on the field.
When she’s at home, she does her best to lead her two other best friends, her sisters.
Jamie, 10, is a softball player. Casey, 7, is also a great athlete, but she focuses on cheerleading and dance.
But whenever her sisters are in action, their big sister isn’t far behind.
“They’re my world,” Madara said. “I love going to watch them play. No matter what they’re doing, I want to be there. They come to all my games, and I go to all of their (events). We’re really close.
“I’ve been there for them forever. I actually helped deliver both of them. I was sitting in the room right next to (the doctor) and was very excited. I was so happy and I’ve been right there for them ever since.”
And, quite possibly, both siblings are responsible for Madara’s next move.
Though she pondered continuing her softball career, next year Madara will give up the uniform for scrubs. She’s headed to Holy Family, where she’ll study nursing. And there’s a chance she’ll be working babies after she graduates.
“I’m thinking about going into the neonatal nursing because I really love kids and babies,” Madara said. “I wanted to play softball, but I know how challenging the workload is and I want to focus on that. I know I’m going to miss playing because I’ve done it for so long, playing travel and high school.
“I’m glad I had a great career at high school in case it was my last year. You don’t know what will happen, but playing for Philadelphia Academy was great. Now I’ll focus on nursing at Holy Family.”