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Softball: Emily Lochten speaking up with purpose

The infielder who was once quiet and shy has found a voice to speak up for LGBT rights and be supportive:

Emily+Lochten+leads+FAU+with+16+home+runs+%0Aand+35+RBIs.+Photo+by+Alexander+Rodriguez
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Softball: Emily Lochten speaking up with purpose

Emily Lochten leads FAU with 16 home runs 
and 35 RBIs. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez

Emily Lochten leads FAU with 16 home runs and 35 RBIs. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez

Emily Lochten leads FAU with 16 home runs and 35 RBIs. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez

Emily Lochten leads FAU with 16 home runs and 35 RBIs. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

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For many, she is an FAU softball player who wears the jersey number 25 and can hit a ball so hard, you’ll be left wondering if it’s still traveling in the air and if it will ever come back down.

Emily Lochten is a reigning first team all-conference member, a home-run machine who has hit the fifth most nationally and the most in Conference USA and one of the frontrunners for the conference player of the year award.

The Lake Worth native has been playing softball for as long as she can remember. She’s also been openly gay throughout her entire journey.

Growing up, Lochten said she was never an “ordinary girl who played with barbies, wrote in diaries or wore princess dresses.” Rather, she dressed more masculine and played sports usually dominated by men like football and basketball.

Since the beginning, she just wanted to be herself.

“It wasn’t really difficult,” Lochten said. “[My] friends and family were always supportive. As long as you surround yourself with the right people, nothing ignorant people say or anyone else says matters.”

Photo by Alexander Rodriguez

She said, “If you are happy with yourself, if you are happy with your life, nothing else should matter to you.”

The support she received made her happy, but helping others come out is what has made her proud. She wishes she could help more people open up about who they really are, knowing some still struggle with finding themselves.

“I just wish I could talk to people face-to-face and make them realize that their happiness is more important than the people that are hitting on them,” Lochten said. “A lot of people, I feel like it’s their parents or the people they are close with that wouldn’t accept it and that’s hard for them, and it makes them unhappy.”

Knowing that opening up about sexual orientation is not easy to do, Lochten tries her best to help people who want to be helped. She keeps her social media open to the public in case anyone wants to reach out to her to talk about anything.

“I am open about what I post online, and if [anyone] sees something they would like to talk about, I am always open to talk,” she said. “[I know] it’s a critical situation that you can’t always talk to everyone about, so being open always lets people in. I am always around and will always be there.”

Lochten said she hears the stereotypes, the jokes on social media and the comments people always seem to have. Everyone has an opinion, she believes, and they are entitled to it.

However, she does not really care what they have to say.

Photo by Alexander Rodriguez

Lochten faces the adversity of not only being an openly gay athlete, but also an African-American in a country that is still fighting for equal rights, prompting civil movements such as Black Lives Matter. However, like her views on her sexual orientation, she only worries about what she can control.

“Again, this doesn’t really affect me because I think it’s a mentality,” she said. “You live life the way you want to. If you want to let people’s thoughts get to you, or their ways of life, to me, that goes back to how you’re raised. To me, that’s your parents’ fault and I can’t blame you for the way your parents raised you, but a lot of that stuff you can’t let it get to you because that affects the big aspect of your life.”

However, Lochten hasn’t always been this open. Her softball head coach, Joan Joyce, described the 21-year-old as being very shy, very quiet person who would never talk to anyone when she first arrived on the Boca Raton campus from Park Vista High School.

Joyce recalled the story of Lochten during parents’ weekend of her freshman year. Every student-athlete had to get up and introduce their respective parents, but Lochten was so shy, she was not able to get up in front of the group.

In order to do it, she had to turn around and speak to the wall.

“From that point to right now, is a huge difference,” Joyce said. “I had to push and shove her to even get her to talk to reporters. Now you can’t shut her up.”

All stats accurate as of Thursday, April 20.

 

My Purpose

On Emily Lochten’s Twitter page, the first tweet you’ll see is a pinned one from December where she explains why she plays the game she loves.

*Tweet left unedited.

I play for the same reason a person with disabilities can’t. I play to make people happy, see enjoyment in people’s faces, including my family.

I play this game because I love it and it made me who I am today. I love this game becuase I don’t know who I would be without it or who I would meet without it.

I play for my friend who has cancer, and my friends mom who just kicked breast cancers ass. I play for my girlfriend who has gone through a lot of things, including her father passing away from cancer.

I play because other people can’t. I play because I love this game.

I play because I want to make a difference. Not for money, not for the attention, but for the kids who want my autograph after a shitty game.

I play this game because it’s a part of me, it brings out every emotions in me, the good ones and the bad ones.. I play because I know my parents and my birth parents are proud of me no matter what, even when I strike out looking.

I play because it’s what I’m good at, it’s what I want to get better at, and it’s what I want to do in my future.

I want to help the kids who loves this game, I want to coach this game. I want my kids and I to love this game like its their purpose for living. To make a difference in a community, in a society, even in the world.

Not a day in my life do i ever want to take a bat out of hand and hang it up for good. I want this game to be a part of me until the day I die. But I will continue playing this game until I no longer can or until it no longer makes me happy.

 

Hans Belot Jr. is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.

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