Brooke Hanson: Focused and consistent on and off the field.

Three words one might use to describe Brooke Hanson, a Forest Hills Central senior, are “focused”, “determined”, and “consistent”. Brooke is the shortstop for the Rangers varsity softball team and during the winter she plays guard for the basketball team. Her determination really came to the fore as the Rangers were closing out the basketball season with a good run that got them into the playoffs.
During the last couple weeks of the regular basketball season Brooke’s parents, Andy and Laura, noticed that their daughter seemed a little tired, but she didn’t complain of anything and she refused to go to the doctor until after the team was eliminated in post season play. Andy thought his daughter had the flu and talked with her about sitting out a couple games. Brooke would have none of it.
“If it wasn’t her senior year I would not have let her continue to play,” Andy Hanson related. “She said to us, ‘I have got to play’ and we didn’t want to disappoint her during her last high school season.”
It turns out that Brooke had mono and the time it has taken for her to get healed up took a chunk out of her final softball season. When we initially spoke with her coach Hanson had not yet returned to the softball team.
“Brooke is a big part of the leadership of this team, “said Ranger coach Cheryl Emmette. “I miss her a lot. She is solid on defense and one of our top hitters – she is an integral part of the team.”
Emmette also told us that Brooke tried to start playing before the time her doctor recommended, but the coach stood firm. We spoke with Brooke after she was back in action. The Rangers had won three games in two days prior to our conversation last Friday. They trounced Union in both games of a double header and had just beaten Grand Rapids Central before we talked. By her own admission, Hanson is still fighting the effects of mono. She reported being tired and estimated that she was playing at about 80% of capacity.
“[My playing] is not as good as I would have liked,” Brooke said. “It is not up to my standards. I still get tired doing things I normally do easily.”
Hanson sets the standards for herself pretty high. In addition to basketball and softball, she would easily be playing varsity soccer if the sports schedule allowed her to. As important as sports are to Brooke, they do not get in the way of her study habits and academic goals. She is a “4.0 plus” student who somewhat hesitantly admitted to ranking her calculus class as her favorite. Brooke related that math comes easily for her and defined herself as a “math person” who likes things that have definite answers. As well as she does on the field and in the gym, Hanson makes education the main focus of her high school life.
“She has her head on straight about the sports,” Andy Hanson told us. “She plays them to play – and has a good time.”
Brooke has narrowed her future educational choices down to the U of M or Alma. When we talked she said that Alma has a slight edge because she would be able to continue playing softball if she went there. She has not settled on a major, but is leaning toward a career in physical therapy or pharmacology.
We mentioned the word “consistent’ earlier. Wednesday evenings are when Hanson can always be found with the youth group at Calvary Church. (She did admit to missing a couple times because of mono.) She has also played the trumpet since elementary school and was part of the Ranger marching band for four years. Her consistency is also demonstrated in her day to day life. Everyone we spoke to about Brooke used words like “even keeled” when they talked about her, but it goes deeper than that. She is a young woman who is comfortable in her own skin and is not going to be a victim of peer pressure or be easily swayed. Brooke does not change the way she is depending on what group of people she is hanging out with.
“She is going to do what she thinks is right and good,” was how Laura Hanson explained it.
One top of her academic and musical talents, Brooke is a tough young lady. During a game last season she dove for a hard-hit line drive between short and third base. The ball popped over the top of the glove and hit Hanson right in the mouth. Thankfully she didn’t lose any teeth, but these days she plays the field with a mouth guard in place.
From everything we learned about Brooke Hanson, the school she ultimately picks will realize a big benefit from having her as a member of their student body.
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