By Keith Harrington
This article originally appeared on Adirondack Sportsnet.
One might think that Brittany Brayman has accomplished everything that she has ever wanted to during her storied high school and college athletic career. Brayman has been named to several All-League and All-Conference teams. She has been to the NCAA Tournament in softball, and has had the opportunity to do what very few college athletes do. Participate in multiple sports in college instead of specializing in one, and still having success academically, graduating in May from Castleton University with a degree in mathematics. However, it is the adventure that Brayman is embarking on this week that may be the pinnacle of her successful career.
Brayman will travel Monday to JFK Airport in New York City where she will meet up with her new USAAI teammates. There they will board a plane headed to Prague in the Czech Republic. When Brayman and the rest of the softball players arrive in Prague, they will slip on their red, white and blue Team USA uniforms and represent the United States in a softball tournament against players from around the world. For Brayman, representing the United States in a sport she loves is a dream come true.
"I am probably going to bring my American flag and celebrate with it," Brayman said while wearing a shirt and shoes with stars and stripes on them.
"I have always been obsessed with red, white and blue. It is going to be awesome to wear that jersey."
The USAAI is an organization that gives United States athletes a chance to play overseas. For over 20 years USAAI has provided athletes the opportunity to play in Olympic -style sporting events while allowing them to broaden their educational and cultural knowledge of the world through experience.
Brayman was even sent a red, white and blue glove, complete with her name and number on it, which she was trying to break in before Sunday's Glens Falls Dragons game at East Field with her brother Mitchell. As if she doesn't have enough going on, Brayman is interning with the Dragons as the official scorer and statistician this summer, as well as holding down her new job as an accountant.
Being extremely active and busy is nothing new to Brayman though. During her high school career for the Hartford Tanagers, Brayman played volleyball, basketball and softball. At the same time, she was also an ice hockey goalie for the Adirondack Phantoms Youth Hockey boy's midgets team. When Brayman arrived on campus at Castleton University, she didn't slow down.
"My freshman year I played ice hockey and softball. My sophomore year I started playing volleyball, so I was playing three college sports. Then I dropped to just volleyball and softball."
For most student-athletes this would seem like an almost impossible task, but for Brayman it just seemed to be natural. It has been her way of life as far back as she can remember.
"I started out playing travel sports at a young age so I had to work around sports for everything. When I got to high school I just went from practice to practice. You definitely lose a lot of social time, but you socialize with the people in the sports you play."
The opportunity to travel to Prague came along because of Brayman's success this season at Castleton.
"It was an invite that was sent out to players because of their conference honors. I was one of the players from the NAC chosen for it, and I accepted."
The starting catcher for Castleton helped lead the Spartans to their first North Atlantic Conference Tournament softball title in school history this spring, earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament for Division III.
"It definitely was a thrill. We had been working toward this for four years and it finally came together for us our senior year. To be the first ever was very exciting."
The Spartans were able to take one victory in the NCAA Tournament, and nearly upset a Rowan squad that ended up in the NCAA Final Four.
"We played them to a 4-2 game, and led them going into the sixth inning. So to play that well against such a good team was great for our program."
Now with her college career behind her, Brayman is hoping that her trip to Prague may open some new doors for her. She will always play in local adult leagues, but hopes that her time playing for her country will give her an opportunity to keep playing fast pitch and advance her softball career. When asked if this will be the last fast pitch softball games that she ever plays, Brayman understood that it may very well be, but she would love this trip to lead to a way to continue playing.
"It could be the final fast pitch softball games that I play. I hope that it leads to something. If it doesn't it will still be a great experience. If it does, that will be awesome."
Brayman was quick to give credit to her parents Mickey and Nancy, and her many coaches over the years who have helped to shape her into the athlete, and the person that she is. Without them, she may have never earned this once in a lifetime chance to play overseas.
"They always taught me to be a leader. They never questioned me playing so many sports. They just told me to always give 100% to everything I do, and to play my hardest all of the time..... and here I am."