VYPE U: Hargrave High School’s Bat Girl Brooke
She's the daughter of two Hargrave coaches, the biggest supporter of Falcon athletics, and quite the busy athlete herself. She's Bat Girl Brooke.
Though she grew up around sports, Brooke Sample became an especially integral part of the Hargrave High School baseball team in 2018 when she became the bat girl.
Brooke is in third grade and, in addition to supporting the Falcons, she plays volleyball, softball, and basketball.
At Hargrave, Brooke's mother is an assistant tennis coach and the girls athletic coordinator and her father coaches baseball and football. Brooke was often at Falcon sporting events anyways, so it was a great transition once she became the bat girl. She took on the role because she loves baseball and being around her dad and the team.
It went well for both the players and the Sample family when Brooke became the bat girl. The Sample parents spent a lot of time around Hargrave athletics before, as their jobs require long hours away from home, so it has made it easier on them to have the kids around more often. The players love having Brooke around too.
Hagen Pike, Luke Thomas, and Mason Strolberg, three of the athletes Brooke has gotten to know best, shared about their unique friendships with Hargrave's number one fan. In just a short conversation, it's not hard to sense the magnitude of the impact Brooke has made on their programs.
Though her main role is the bat girl, Brooke supports various sports at Hargrave. At football and volleyball games, Brooke's strategy is simple. She "cheer[s] loud."
Brooke Sample and Hagen Pike posing at a volleyball match. From Brandy Sample
Pike, a senior volleyball player, says the team is constantly uplifted by Brooke's presence. They hear her chants at volleyball games and, "always say, 'Did you hear the cheer Brooke started?'" Pike believes that Brooke is "a great leader" and that she has "so much heart," inspiring Pike to "be the best [she] can be." Pike wishes that every fan at the volleyball games would have "as much enthusiasm and heart" as Brooke.
Brooke Sample and Luke Thomas posing at a football game. From Brandy Sample
Thomas, a junior football player, says that everyone on the team "welcomes Brooke in a loving and caring way each and every time [they] see her." Brooke is at every game cheering the Falcons on from the stands. On her influence on the team, Thomas commented that Brooke "[spreads] positivity each time [they] see her." She takes pictures with the players after games and is always there to truly "show [the players] how much she enjoys seeing [them] play."
Mason Strolberg (11), Brooke Sample, and Noah Zamora (22) sitting in the dugout. From Brandy Sample
When Brooke became the bat girl, the team welcomed her with open arms. Many of the kids already knew her from her previous presence at the games. Senior baseball player Mason Strolberg said that the team welcomed Brooke initially as they realized she, "is a character and will always bring happiness even in the saddest moments."
During the games, she likes to retrieve the bats, hang out in the dugout with the boys, and, of course, run out and cheer when one of them hits a home run. She even brings the team treats on her birthday and takes pictures with them after games.
Strolberg has known Brooke for over four years, and they have a unique relationship. Strolberg sometimes brings Brooke tacos and attends her own games. He supports Brooke to show that, "[he] cares about her as much as she cares about [the baseball team]."
All three of the athletes echoed similar sentiments about Brooke's effect on their teams. Her positivity makes a tremendous impact on Falcon athletics. The players make an effort to be positive role models by setting good examples in their words and actions around Brooke. To have younger kids look up to them is a great feeling for them, and Pike says the support of Brooke and other kids makes the volleyball team "play even harder," never "want[ing] to let them down."
Brooke's mother, Brandy Sample, says seeing Brooke get involved has been "kind of amazing," especially seeing how "sweet and kind" the kids are around Brooke.
Brooke has made a huge difference within the Hargrave High School athletics programs, and she continues to support the Falcons. As Brooke approaches her fourth season as bat girl, it is clear that her positive attitude and unmatched spirit have transformed Hargrave athletics with a lasting impact.
In Strolberg's words, Brooke is "the best bat girl there is no doubt about it!"