TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You may think of softball as simply a game, but for Ah-Nayia Oglesby and her father, it is their game.
“I started playing because my dad, he was in a men’s league,” said Ah-Nayia, who will be a senior at Alonso High School in the fall. “One night after the game I was like, ‘I want to play. This is for me. I want to play and I want you to teach me.'”
“I said, ‘Look, there is no quitting. Once you start, that is it. You are going to finish,'” Ah-Nayia’s father, Waymon Rose, told us. “And she was like, ‘OK.’ And I said, ‘OK, let’s do it!'”
The two of them did not waste any time.
“That night, he started looking for gloves, bats, bat bags,” said Ah-Nayia. “He wanted nothing but the best.”
Can you blame him?
“We practice at the house,” Waymon said. “We have a hitting net at the house. We practice. I went all out. We have a string hooked from two trees with whiffle balls on it and I make her hit those.”
Waymon has six children. Ah-Nayia is the youngest, and is the only other softball player in the family.
“I am loving watching her play,” he told us. “To see that – wow! I taught her how to play!”
Although Ah-Nayia was wearing the number six in her games on Wednesday evening, she typically wears the number 16. That’s because her father wore the number 16.
“He had that since his high school career,” said Ah-Nayia. “So I decided I will follow after the guy who inspired me.”
She was inspired, and now she is inspiring other young athletes. Ah-Nayia is one of only 60 softball players from across the country who received an invitation to attend an elite softball development camp over Memorial Day weekend.
“I was thinking like – I did not really have thoughts,” she told us with a smile. “I was so overwhelmed. I was ready to pack, ready to get on the road, to go to Kansas City.”
Ah-Nayia hopped on a plane by herself on Thursday morning but thankfully, she is only a FaceTime call away from her family.
“I told her to FaceTime me,” her father said. “We both have iPhones. I said, ‘FaceTime me all the time.’ And she was like, ‘I am not FaceTiming you.’ And I said ‘Well then, I will FaceTime you!'”
Ah-Nayia has dreams to play softball in college. We are told she has already received dozens of inquiries from college coaches.