Siblings can influence each other and the decisions they each make. As for Ally Dickman, a junior on the University of Utah softball team, she is following in her older sister’s footsteps.
Dickman’s sister, Kate Dickman, who is four years older, graduated from the U the year before Ally became a Ute. She was a standout player for the softball team, just like her sister is now.
“I feel like the term, ‘Following in someone’s footsteps,’ could be negative, but for me, it has been a really positive thing,” Ally said. “[Kate] really set a good path for me to follow. Just playing in this program after her hasn’t been a comparison thing because it has been very obvious that we are completely different players.”
In Kate’s first year on the team, the Utes had just joined the Pac-12, and it took them a while to get on their feet in the new league. By her senior year, Utah had qualified for postseason, and it traveled to Tennessee for the regional tournament.
“In my first year out of the program, it was a big change to not be on the team, but I was really glad that [Ally] could pick up right where I left off,” Kate said. “It made me feel still connected to the team and the program that I had just left behind.”
Now living over 600 miles away from each other — Ally in Utah and Kate in California — the sisters still make the effort to visit and talk to each other.
“I think that mentally, I can help her stay stable and even-headed since I’ve been through the ups and downs of college ball,” Kate said. “I know how to praise her in her highs and help her stay confident through her lows since I’ve done it all before.”
Having this support system is helpful for Ally as she navigates college life both as a player and student. Kate knows how important it is for a student-athlete to stay focused, and she knows how to help Ally when she needs it.
“She [has] always been there for me with advice,” Ally said. “She [has] done this whole thing, not just college softball, but specifically at Utah, so she knows the ins and outs of the program. She [has] given me so much advice and has really been a role model for me.”
Watching her sister excel and enjoy her time at the U solidified Ally’s decision to follow her sister and represent the Utes. Ally knew she always wanted to continue playing softball as she got older, and she has put in countless hours to make it to where she is now. She has also worked on becoming a leader for the younger players and someone her teammates can come to for support.
Now, Ally has found a family in the same place her sister called home a year before her own arrival.
“I love just being with my team and hanging out with people that have become my best friends because we spend so much time together,” Ally said. “Many of my favorite memories have been made with my teammates.”