Getting to know Kyndel Shelburn
Shelburn, a pitcher, is 5-1 and has signed with Pittsburg State. She plans to study be a physicians assistant in the neonatal intensive care unit.
You grew up playing multiple sports, including volleyball in high school. Was it difficult to focus only on softball?
It was kind of hard. I had only one sport to focus on. The other sports were played different, and I went from playing all those sports to just softball. It was a big change. Youre doing the same thing over and over instead of changing it up and having things to break it up and get out of the same routine. (To keep from being bored), I wouldnt pitch every day. Id break it up and go from pitching to infield to outfield. I dont miss the other sports. Softball is what I love to do. The others were just there to play.
Whats your mindset when youre on the mound?
Every pitcher likes to strike out people. Thats obvious. I want to have them hit it on the ground because my defense backs me up, or pop up so they can catch it in the air, or strike out. I just want to have my team involved, as well. I just want to get that out.
Your older brother, Joshua, has Prader Willi syndrome, a rare disorder. One of the key features of the syndrome is that the person has a constant sense of hunger. How have his special needs affected you?
It has taught me to be more of a helping person. When me and my brother played basketball outside, you had to teach him how to play. Hell come up to me and do you want to play catch? Then Id teach him how to play catch. You learn patience, as well. Become more of a leader in that perspective. They cant really do it on their own. You look at people differently. You look at them, theyre not different, theyre just unique in their own way. Its not a bad thing. There are people who dont know anything about working with people with special needs, they put people down instead of looking into them and seeing youre different in your own ways.
Hes why you volunteer in the Special Olympics. How do you like volunteering?
That has helped me a lot, to try to help other kids, keep them encouraged if they dont make the basket or they hit it under the net in volleyball. Just to keep their spirits up.
Youre interested in working in the NICU newborn intensive care, why?
Im a huge baby person. I always have little cousins and family members around me that have babies. Theyre so little and cute and innocent. It would be an awesome thing to say, Hey, I saved that babys life or I helped that baby. Ive just always had a soft spot for kids.