By Jeremy McDonald
AMITY, Ore.– With signing, you would need to show some kind of facial and emotional importance to what you are interpreting to others. For Amity’s Gabby Rolston, the straight-faced multi-sport athlete knows it’s easier said than done when it comes to signing out words.
But it is coming easier for the Warriors Senior.
“For some people it’s easier to sell their facial and emotions. Personally I struggle with showing my emotions, it’s something I really need to work on. It helped me a little bit, I just need to work on it a lot,” Rolston jokes.
Everyone in the ASL Christmas Program has some sports connection when they had their two performances this year. Rolston (Volleyball, Basketball, Softball), Hanna Butler and Bel Adona are cheerleaders. Makaela Calonder swims for McMinnville. Audrey Clark does basketball; Brooke Lopez also does volleyball and basketball and Hazel Hoff with volleyball and softball.
And though it’s technically not a field of play, it still takes some kind of teamwork points Rolston who was a part of her third Christmas performance.
“It was awesome having my teammates from other sports that I play participating in the Christmas program with me. The type of teamwork that it takes for signing songs is rhythm and timing (making sure that everyone is in sync),” Rolston said. “This was my third time doing the Christmas program. This was pretty memorable because we performed more than once, normally we just do it once at the high school.”
Of the two, they hosted one in Newberg where there was a mixture between the in-person and online presence. The one in Amity at the Christian Church drew a bigger crowd to the performance program.
“It was awesome,” Rolston said of the uniqueness of this year’s program.
The program lasted an hour and a half featuring songs, Rolston mentioned a lot of them have been the same one’s they’ve done before in the past so it’s just a matter of getting it back down. Being an aid for the first-year sign class has helped her stay fresh as her and Hoff took two weeks to get everything down for their version of Faith Hill’s ‘Little Drummer Boy’.
In a normal year they would have formations and would have to learn and switch between songs. With the restrictions of 2020, they didn’t have too many formations due to limited space where they performed.
But with how this year has been for Rolston and everyone that had performed this holiday season, to be able to participate in the ASL Christmas Program made everything normal for a brief moment.
“With how this year has gone so far. Nothing has been normal for anyone. But for me, being able to participate in the ASL Christmas Program again made everything seem normal for a split second. Although this being my third and final year signing songs, I hope to one day be able to sign songs with the people I admire and enjoy to be with,” said Rolston. “My teacher Mrs. Ashby has helped me and my friends tremendously through the past four years of my life, and will probably continue too.”
There’s still a hope for a Senior season for sure for Rolston as we get close to the scheduled February start date, hoping she’ll see what her Amity volleyball squad can do following their 16-5 season as well as what they can do on the basketball courts and softball field.
For Rolston, she’s returned to the basketball court last year and is excited to get back to it while partaking in Fall Softball with some of the Willamina girls and participated in the Amity Volleyball Club’s Quad Tournament in November. Staying involved with sports whenever she could.
“It would be amazing to get to play sports again. Sports have been in my life since I was little. This past year I decided to give basketball another chance and I’m happy I did because it was really fun. But to be able to play volleyball, basketball, and softball with my friends would be great,” starts Rolston.
“I really enjoyed playing with the Willamina girls again (in softball), it is always a blast with them. The volleyball tournament was so much fun. It was almost like playing real volleyball again. My team for both the advanced and co ed won the championship which was really cool.”