By Mike Staley – Collegiate Staff
Playing sports at the collegiate level is difficult, but playing two sports is almost unheard of.
That’s exactly what 19-year-old sophomore Makayla Beld is doing. Beld is one of the stars of the women’s basketball team and this spring will be lacing up her cleats on the diamond for the softball team.
Beld came to Grand Rapids Community College from Hudsonville High School not quite knowing what she wanted to do, but she knew she wanted to play sports.
“I love the great teammates and the relationships, but it’s kind of sad you only get two years,” Beld said. “Once you get to know the coaches and your teammates, it’s just a great atmosphere.”
Beld tries to balance sports, academics, and a personal life. Admittedly, it’s not as easy as she would like.
“I don’t really have one,” she said about her personal life. “Time management is a huge thing and it’s important getting homework done when you actually have free time instead of watching Netflix when you really want to be doing that.”
On the rare occasion when Beld does have free time, she can be found in her hometown of Hudsonville spending time with her family and friends. She’ll probably be listening to country music or watching the movie Up as she admitted she just recently watched it again for roughly the 20th time. But don’t ask her to watch a Disney movie with you.
“I’m not really big into Disney movies,” she said. “Everyone always thinks that’s crazy, but I don’t really like Disney.”
When she’s not relaxing, it’s all business for Beld.
“She’s got a work ethic that shines through,” said Women’s Basketball Head Coach, David Glazier. “She’s a sponge.”
Glazier went on to say how her leadership with the team has evolved from her first year to her sophomore year.
“I wouldn’t say she’s a vocal leader, but she’s a leader by example,” Glazier said. “When one of your best players is also one of your hardest workers, it sets an example for the rest of the team.”
That hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Beld was recently named the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Player of the week. When talking about this award, Beld recognized the importance of her team in this accomplishment.
“All the little things everyone did made a big difference,” Beld said. “You could tell watching us, all five of us on the floor were clicking, our bench was really hype, and I know that really fed into all our energy and spirit. My team just made really good passes to me that week.”
Whether or not the shots are falling for her, she always seems to leave her fingerprints on the game
“She’s pretty Steady Eddy…She’s going to find a way to impact the game whether she’s getting touches or not,” Glazier said.
Beld’s athleticism could lead one to believe that she grew up in a sports-oriented family, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“It’s odd, none of my family was really into sports,” Beld said. “They don’t watch football or anything like that. I guess I just picked it up on my own.”
Despite that fact, Beld did say that her aunt played basketball for the Raiders many years ago.
With GRCC being a two-year program, the prospect of transferring has now come up in conversation for Beld.
“I’m still debating whether I want to play basketball next year or not, so that will be a big thing in where I transfer,” Beld said. “I’ll probably just stay somewhere close to home.”
When confronted by the choice of having to choose between basketball and softball, basketball wins out. If she does end up playing sports at her next school, softball would be out of the picture.
For now, Beld remains focused on this season. The team is 10-10 with six games remaining and the Raiders have the playoffs in their crosshairs. Beld addressed what the team needs to do to make a playoff push.
“We’re kind of figuring that out right now,” Beld said. “We kind of had a dip in just trying to figure out who all of us are together as a team. We all individually bring a bunch of talent, but we have to really focus on bringing it all together and communication is our big thing. Keep starting games strong.”
Regardless of how the season turns out for Beld and the Raiders, Beld will remain upbeat and optimistic.
“I know everyone’s going through things you never realize,” Beld said. “I’m aware of how people can put up a front…but if you dig deeper they’re hurting too. One of my favorite quotes is ‘Make everybody feel like a somebody’ and I just try to maintain positivity no matter how hard your struggles can be.”