Welcome to Saturday Spotlight! Here, we dive deep into the lives of Ohio State student-athletes and learn more about their journeys to Columbus, their love of the Buckeye traditions and who they are as competitors and students.
Growing up in Manvel, Texas, Ohio State softball senior right fielder Alex Bayne lived just two hours away from Texas A&M University — and in turn, her parents raised her as a fan of the Aggies. In her final year in Columbus, however, Bayne said she has “made two more Buckeye fans in Texas” after her time in a Scarlet and Gray uniform.
Now a college transfer and an undergraduate degree later, Bayne and the Buckeyes are preparing to take on No. 4 Auburn and North Dakota State Saturday afternoon in Clearwater, Florida in hopes of extending the team's current seven-game winning streak.
We sat down with Bayne to discuss her transfer from Marshall University, getting kicked out of an apartment complex with the team and much more.
When did you realize you might have a chance to play softball at the collegiate level?
Alex Bayne: I would say probably around the middle school years, so I guess I was about 12, 13 or 14. My dad had always put the idea of collegiate softball out there, and as a kid it’s an awesome idea — but then at that age, you kind of figure out if it’s something you really want to pursue or not, and you see your skill compared to other people. So when I was 14, I decided to try out for an 18-and-under team, which usually the players that play on those teams are 17 or 18. I wanted to play more competition and see where I stacked up, I made the team and that was kind of the first time I saw an organization see my potential and I realized I can develop my skills and be able to play at the collegiate level.
What drew you to come to Ohio State?
AB: After my first year at Marshall, I realized it wasn’t a good fit for me so I decided to take my sophomore year off because I wasn’t sure if I was going to play softball again — but I didn’t think to much into it because I knew I would miss the crap out of it. My boyfriend at the time, now fiancé, was a student at Ohio State. So I would come visit him and I just fell in love the university as a whole, the culture, how people don’t come here to just be average. The campus is beautiful, it was big but I didn’t feel like it was overwhelming when I was visiting. So I knew regardless if I wanted to play softball or not that I wanted to finish my academic career at Ohio State, and it just worked out that (the softball team) had try-outs and the coaches liked me and wanted me.
What is the best part about being a student-athlete?
AB: I think the opportunities you receive and kind of the people who are surrounding you who want you to succeed. I get to make connections and network for jobs I want to do, and there are so many different things that we’re spoiled with that aren’t necessarily gear. It’s more of building you up as a person and allowing you to be able to succeed in the future, and I know that the support group with my professors, athletics department and my coaches is amazing because it is a challenge sometimes to balance things. I think that is one of the best things about Ohio State, I’ve never asked someone for help and felt like I’ll be rejected.
What’s been your best softball moment in your career?
AB: Last year when we got a bid to the NCAA tournament, we were all together at this apartment complex in northwest Columbus in their media room. We turned on the selection show, we had a good idea that we played well enough, but there was still that anticipation of where we would be for the regional — and when our name was announced, we went crazy. We were so excited, it was so awesome to be one of the top-64 teams in the country, but we actually were so loud that we got kicked out of the apartment complex because we we’re so excited and pumped up for each other. It was such a cool moment that you just felt the energy and adrenaline from one another, and that has to be one of the top moments I will remember forever — especially because we got kicked out.
What are you studying?
AB: I actually graduated last May with my undergraduate degree in strategic communications, and now I’m going to graduate school for sports administration/management and I will graduate that program in August.
What’s been your favorite class you've taken at Ohio State?
AB: My two favorite classes have been Intercultural Communications and Crisis Communications — both taught by a professor named Lanier Holt, who is my absolute favorite professor and I’ve taken him to softball professor appreciation days because he’s amazing.
What’s your favorite part about/spot on campus?
AB: I love walking through the Oval. When I first came here, I loved it but took it for granted because it was apart of a walk I did every day, but now that all of my classes are in the RPAC I miss it so much. That, and Mirror Lake are two places that I think make Ohio State what it is, and those are two places where I think I could just sit and relax.
What’s been your favorite aspect of Columbus?
AB: Probably my favorite aspect of the city is that there are so many locally owned and hole-in-the-wall shops all throughout Columbus. People here want to shop local, want to help their local economy by going to places like the brewery district or restaurant week. People are willing to help out one another, and people want to have that local feeling and I think that’s such a huge part of Columbus and a reason why it’s growing.
What’s something that not a lot of people know about you?
AB: I am a nerd when it comes to fantasy fiction. I love Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, basically anything fantasy fiction like that I could talk to people for hours about that. People poke fun and laugh, but a goal for me would be to learn Elvish.
What is something you would tell an incoming student about Ohio State that you'd like them to know?
AB: I guess one thing I would tell them is to embrace the journey, enjoy every moment. My dad always tells me to embrace the good and the bad because it goes by in the blink of an eye — and before you know it, it's going to come to an end and you're going to wish you embraced more moments and wish you had it back. I think that's something really personal to me, to try to take advantage of every day I have, especially being a student-athlete (at Ohio State). There's going to be ups, and there's going to be downs, but live it and love it and don't wish it away because it's going to be gone before you know it — and you're going to wish you had those moments back.