First runner-up Heinzmann enlightened by orthopedics
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Almost eight months to the day after she suffered a torn ACL, Maddie Heinzmann was the Fulton County 4-H Fair Queen First Runner-Up.
To Heinzmann, who will be a senior this fall at Rochester High School, she sees a connection. She was back playing softball for the Lady Zs less than six months after the surgery.
“It’s made me realize that no matter how bad life can get or how low you can get at a point, there’s always a place where you can come out and become 10 times stronger than what you are, and it brings you out of your comfort zone because you’re trying new things, especially with rehab,” Heinzmann said.
“You have to try new things to get back to your old things.”
And because she was willing to try new things, she knows in what she wants to major in college – orthopedics. After all, it was an orthopedic surgery that helped return her life back to normal, and she was fascinated how her life was able to return to normal.
“Just how you can basically tear and demolish anything in your leg and just being able to have the ability to make a new one,” Heinzmann said. “My ACL was basically demolished, and they were able to take one of my tendons in my legs and take a third of that for my ACL.”
She said she had always wanted to do Fair Queen, and Erika Enyart had told her this was her year to enter.
Heinzmann said Enyart was her babysitter when she was younger. Enyart is a kindergarten teacher at Caston Elementary School now. Enyart got in touch with Heinzmann’s mother over Facebook Messenger to try and encourage her further.
She said she was “on the edge” of whether she wanted to try it.
“I was like, ‘OK, I’ll go and compete, but I’m not getting my hopes up,’” Heinzmann said.
But when it was over, Heinzmann had something else to say to Enyart.
“Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone to do this,” Heinzmann said.
Heinzmann credited Enyart; Stephenia Barkman, her grandmother; Melinda, her aunt; and Abigail Powell, the 2019 Miss Blueberry and her cousin for coaching and advice.
“They told me to just be myself and go out there and do what I’ve been working on,” Heinzmann said.
Heinzmann has never been in 4-H, but she volunteers her time helping out the family veterinarian clean and work with animals.
As for the pageant, Heinzmann said she began practicing in early June. She said she practiced at least once a week and then twice more a week with family.
She said she practiced stage walking, how to turn properly and how to be ready for any interview question that might be asked.
Heinzmann runs cross-country in the fall and plays basketball in the winter and softball in the spring.
She said she is a competitive person, and she said that the pageant was challenging but nothing like the way a cross-country meet or basketball or softball game is challenging. The pageant was much more “fancy” while an athlete is sweating in one’s uniform and “dirty.”
As for clothes, she said she and Powell wear the same sizes, so she just picked clothes out of her closet. That helped take any fears out of the fancy part.
But she said that a beauty pageant and a sporting event are alike in a way.
“One thing that’s alike is the competition and being competitive and strong headed of just knowing what you have to do and be good at it,” Heinzmann said.
Heinzmann explained it even more tersely.
“You have to be right then and there,” Heinzmann said. “No stage fright, no backing out, no hesitation. You just have to go.”
During the pageant, she would see at which skills her competitors were good and use that as motivation.
“They just made me practice even more, when I was like, ‘Oh, they are actually really good at that. I need to push myself to do better,’” Heinzmann said.