Former HP standout almost quit playing softball, but is thriving after a fresh start
Less than a year after becoming the first player in the history of the Highland Park softball program to earn a college scholarship, Dawson Dabboussi wanted to quit the sport.
Dabboussi had arrived at St. Edward’s University in Austin in fall 2020 eager and enthusiastic, after a pandemic-shortened senior season with the Lady Scots. She was ready to make history.
“I was super excited about the chance to play college softball,” Dabboussi said. “I worked really hard but was never given any chances. The school was great, but the team culture was very bad.”
Dabboussi was one of eight freshmen to leave the program after that season. Three years later, she has resurrected her career and her outlook at Trinity University in San Antonio and has regained a passion for softball that was almost lost forever.
“I was not in a good place,” she said. “Softball was supposed to be fun, and I wanted to not be on the field. I had never felt like that before.”
As her grades and her mental health began to suffer at St. Edward’s, the catcher said she had made up her mind that she was done playing. But her father, Nader, urged her to reconsider.
Dabboussi applied to Trinity as a student and later emailed softball coach Abby Martin, who told her the Tigers had a full roster with 15 incoming freshmen. In other words, Dabboussi would have to compete for a spot, likely as a designated hitter rather than a catcher.
She made the roster to start her sophomore year but struggled in the first few games and was benched. She spent the rest of the 2022 season as a pinch-hitter. But along the way, she felt a sense of camaraderie and support that had been missing.
“Everybody was completely different. I found the love of the sport again, and it was because of the people and the coaches,” Dabboussi said. “If you’re not confident or comfortable, you’re not going to do well. Everybody around me is always supporting me.”
Dabboussi became Trinity’s primary DH as a junior last year. She led the Tigers with a .398 batting average and received all-conference recognition.
She hopes to continue that momentum during her upcoming senior season. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she plans to enroll in law school while still having another year of softball eligibility remaining.
“Getting another year would make up for that one year that I kind of lost,” Dabboussi said. “I’m so blessed.”