Stacy Berg said that since she turned 12, softball has been her whole world, but the McDonogh junior sees well beyond the diamond. Interested in politics and diversity issues, Berg, 16, belongs to several school clubs and participates in the Hadassah Teen Leadership Corps, which addresses issues facing Jewish teenagers. A veteran of the Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games, an annual Olympics-style event for Jewish teens 13 to 16, she traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, over winter break to play for the senior U.S. team at the Pan American Maccabi Games. She caught three games as the United States won the gold medal. This spring, in her third year as the Eagles' starting catcher and cleanup hitter, Berg is batting .333 with 11 RBIs. She also plays club softball for the Riviera Beach Spirit. Berg, who has a 3.6 grade point average, plans to become a lawyer.
Why do you love softball?
I think it's the competitive nature of sports in general with the added combination of having to be really good at one of the hardest things ever, which is to hit a moving object. With catching, along with the mental aspect, you have to know what everyone's going to do with the ball. You're the commander on the field, and I love that.
How did you become involved with the Pan American Maccabi team?
I did the JCC Maccabi Games for Baltimore, and last year ... we played Chicago during the Games in Houston, and the coach of the Chicago team was also the coach of the Pan American team. They originally had two catchers, and one of them dropped off, so he contacted me.
Did you want to go right away?
Oh, yeah. First of all, the fact that you get to go to Argentina, I mean, who wouldn't jump at that, but just the Maccabi Games in general. I've had an amazing time at the JCC Maccabi Games, and to do the real one, especially at the age of 16, it was an opportunity that I wouldn't miss.
What do you enjoy about playing in the Maccabi Games?
I think it's just the fact that it is all Jewish people. I'm lucky I grew up in an area that has a lot of Jewish people, but especially for people who have grown up and been the outsiders in a way, it allows you to meet all these different people from different cultures and different areas who face the same - at this point, I wouldn't really call it a struggle - but the same conditions and have the same thoughts that you do.
As co-president of the Young Democrats at McDonogh, what appeals to you about politics?
I love politics. I think everyone should have a right to help decide how our country is ruled and shouldn't just leave it up to other people to do it. I think, as a democracy, we have the right and we have the power to make changes, but if you're not informed about them, then you're just letting other people dictate how you're supposed to live your life.
You're not old enough to vote this year. Are you disappointed about that?
Yes. I feel worse for people, though, in my grade whose birthdays are in like December and who miss it by months. Especially in an election like this where it's huge, I really wish I got to vote.
You're involved with the Black Awareness and the Jewish Awareness clubs at school. What draws you to diversity issues?
I just think that people need to put aside race and religion and all these things that make us different and realize that we are, in fact, all people. The Black Awareness Club, I joined that because I think the history of blacks and the history of Jews is very similar, and I think that we should support one another. I'm also in a club called Diversity for McDonogh, and we work on different programs and different things to make people learn about diversity and other cultures.
What are you interest in as a career?
Right now, I'm hoping to become a lawyer. I'm not sure what kind of law. I'm sure I'll figure that out in law school, and depending on how it goes and how I'm feeling, possibly politics, but you never know.