Chelsea Jenner’s ascendant softball career necessitated some creative thinking when it came time for her high school graduation this week.
Jenner had been slated to march with her Grade 12 classmates at Abbotsford Christian Secondary in commencement ceremonies on Tuesday evening.
But the previous Saturday, following tryouts for the Canadian junior women’s national team in Toronto, the centre fielder had received word that she’d cracked the 17-player roster.
That meant she’d stay in Ontario prepping for the International Softball Federation’s Junior World Championship, which runs July 1-7 in Brampton.
Jenner and Abby Christian principal Gerry Goertzen had a contingency plan for such a scenario, though. Before Jenner departed for tryouts, she shot a video with Goertzen of her walking across the stage in cap and gown to accept her diploma. The video was to be played during the commencement ceremony.
“It’s pretty short, but it’s kind of nice,” she said. “Basically, I just said (in the video), ‘Sorry I can’t be here, I’m playing in the World Championships.’
“I think my parents are kind of upset I’m not able to walk across the stage,” she added with a chuckle. “It’s kind of bittersweet, but I feel like this is such a great opportunity that I don’t mind missing it.”
Shooting the video before actually making the junior national team might indicate a level of confidence heading into the tryout, but Jenner wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“To be honest, I was pretty nervous,” she said. “Everyone who was at the training camp, I felt we were all pretty equal. I didn’t know how they were going to make the decision.
“But I found out on the Saturday morning that I’d made it, and I was so excited. I keep pinching myself that it’s real.”
The Junior World Championship will feature 16 teams, and Canada’s half of the draw includes the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Korea, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, the United States and Venezuela.
Canada opens against Venezuela on July 1.
“We’re going to be competing in Canada, for Canada, on Canada Day,” Jenner enthused. “That’s super exciting.”
Jenner, who has a softball scholarship to San Jose State University lined up this fall, will also participate in the prestigious Canadian Open International Championship at Surrey’s Softball City, July 12-22. She’ll suit up for both her club team, the Surrey Storm, and the B.C. provincial squad.