NJ Athlete of Week Inspired By Bette…

The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mallory Erickson can’t wait until January.

The Pompton Lakes’ junior scored tickets for a Bette Midler concert at Madison Square Garden, the first time she’ll be seeing her favorite singer performing live. The seats are in the 200 section, and that will seem like heaven to Erickson.

After all, it will be a moment she’s been waiting for ever since she saw the movie “Beaches” with her two older sisters about 12 years ago.

“I want to be just like her,” said Erickson, a standout field hockey player and The Record’s Female Athlete of the Week. “She’s funny, intelligent, and she sings.”

Erickson doesn’t know where she caught the acting bug, but she is determined to pursue a career on stage. She’s already appeared in school productions of “The Wizard of Oz,” playing the munchkin from the Lollipop Guild, and “Tom Sawyer,” playing the part of Widow Douglas, a friend of Tom’s Aunt Polly.

Athletic commitments will keep her out of the spring musical, but won’t distract her from her long-term dreams.

“I like extreme characters,” Erickson, 16, said. “When I played the Widow Douglas, I really hammed it up as an old Southern woman.

“I guess it all came naturally to me. My sisters are much older than me [26 and 27], and they were teenagers when I was a little girl. They used to dress me up as different characters, and I’d start hamming it up.”

Erickson also likes to make people laugh. She’s tried her hand at stand-up comedy during the school improv show, and she’s already looking for a college with a strong drama department.

And when she’s in the locker room or on the team bus, teammates can’t wait to hear her funny stories.

“I’m just a really outgoing person,” said Erickson, who also plays shortstop on the softball team and enjoys studying history. “I like to make people laugh, and I’ve always liked being the center of attention. I like just being funny – basically, being myself.”

Also nominated: Kim Hykey of Lyndhurst and Brittany Page of River Dell for soccer and Megan Gaffney of Pompton Lakes for cross-country.

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