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Who the Buc are you?

This week, I sat down with our featured athlete, Amanda Langford, to discuss her softball journey, some fun facts about her, and her experience as a female athlete. Langford is a freshman and plays 1st and 3rd defense for Beloit’s softball team. Softball has been a part of Amanda’s life since she was in the fifth grade, so she is ecstatic to continue playing at a collegiate level!

Amanda Langford hails from Mundelein, IL, which is about an hour and a half away from Beloit. In fact, the proximity to home was one of the reasons Amanda chose to further her education at Beloit. She stated, “I didn’t want to be too close to home — but not too far!” When asked what else attracted her to Beloit, Langford claims that she was recruited for softball “around June or July” during the summer between junior and senior year. She also states that, “I received some stuff in the mail for the school, just [saying] like, ‘check out Beloit!’” However, Amanda claims that the campus tour was what sealed the deal. “When I first got here, I loved it!” she says, adding that she enjoys the scenery and the welcoming environment of the campus. 

Amanda was inspired to take up softball by her father. “My dad was a huge baseball player. He played for probably 40-ish years,” says Amanda. She even disclosed that her father played semi-professionally at one point. Even now, the origin story of her softball career is vivid. Langford recalled that, “It was like fourth or fifth grade that he [my father] wanted me to try out for the travel team.” She remembers her reluctance to join said team as she feared that she “didn’t have experience” and “probably wouldn’t make it” — regardless to say, she did make it! From there, Amanda developed a passion for the sport. She told me that softball is far more than a sport for her — it is therapeutic. “Every time I step on the field, all of my problems are put behind me. It’s a whole different world to me,” she says, going so far as dub softball as her ‘escape’ from her stressful school life. 

Speaking of a stressful school life, Amanda is a dedicated student. Currently, Amanda is enrolled in Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Literature: Other Minds, Other Worlds. “My plan, as of right now,” says Langford, “is to double major in Philosophy and English, with a minor in Law and Justice, as I am on the Pre-Law track.” Her ultimate goal is to someday become a civil rights attorney. Her parents have served as her inspiration to enter that particular career.  “My mom is hearing-impaired, and my dad is deaf,” she says. Amanda has witnessed firsthand, the discrimination that her parents have faced due to their disabilities, and she wants to be able to stand up for those who face discrimination by becoming a lawyer. She also told me that she knows American Sign Language, and that while she is not necessarily fluent in it, she does “know enough to hold a conversation.” 

I was interested in Amanda’s experiences as a female athlete, and she was thrilled to share them. “Oh gosh, I could write novels about this!” quips Langford. She says that while she has not faced direct discrimination in the world of sports because of her gender, she does feel that “female athletes are overlooked a lot.” Amanda feels that the sport of softball itself is often written of as being an “easier baseball.” To conclude our interview, she served up an incredibly powerful quote: “Regardless of if you’re female or male, when you’re an athlete, you put the work in. You work hard, you set your mind to whatever sport you play. I feel like women don’t get enough credit for that.” 

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