At age four, Trae Bain, junior exercise major, picked up a T-ball and began his journey into the world of baseball.
“From then on, it was pretty much my life,” Bain said.
Later, he played basketball and baseball and now plays first base and pitches on Union’s team.
Bain said he loves the complete focus necessary for athletics, how he does not have to worry about anything else while playing baseball. Worries about scheduling and homework become insignificant while in the middle of a game, he said.
“I just love being out there and being with my teammates, just the thrill of the game,” Bain said. “There’s just something about it.”
Bain spent six baseball seasons playing at Alcorn Central High School in Corinth, Mississippi, his hometown.
A highlight of his time competing at Union was when he made his first college hit, resulting in excitement for the whole team, Bain said.
The team, Bain said, is made up of many personalities who have had to come together, especially to make it through this past difficult season.
“We’re like brothers, especially this year,” Bain said. “We’ve been really close.”
An athlete must be good at managing time, Bain said, something especially difficult with the snow and rain early this semester. Games were often moved and the team could not practice outside for the first six weeks of the season, he said.
Bain also missed nearly half of his classes in February and March due to ice days and games, he said. This has led to time studying and completing homework while surrounded by his teammates—sometimes on the bus, sometimes in hotel rooms, sometimes in the hotel lobby.
This semester, Bain has taken his Arts and Western Civilization homework on many trips, he said, making sure not to neglect his schoolwork, his practice or his social life.
When not busy with baseball, Bain said he enjoys visiting his hometown to see friends from high school and go deer hunting.
Not only does he have strong friendships from high school, but Bain also said being around each other nearly every day for hours at a time forges strong friendships on Union’s baseball team.
“I feel like I’ve made lifelong friends playing baseball that I wouldn’t have made otherwise,” Bain said.
Whitney Christian, junior accounting major and shortstop on the softball team, goes through the day with nearly every hour mapped out on her phone.
Often her day includes early morning practice with the team. Some hours are blocked out for homework,
some for classes, some for the occasional nap, others for things like picking up supplies for Senior Day.
Managing academics, athletics and a social life is a “hard balance,” Christian said, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I can’t imagine not playing,” Christian said. “Now that I’m playing, I’m like what do other people do with all their time? It blows my mind that people have so much time.”
Keeping to a daily schedule mapped out on her phone helps her to remain on track, she said.
“Always in the back of my mind I know in an hour I have to go do this, in an hour I can take a nap,” she said.
When not working on school or softball, Christian said she enjoys reading, watching shows on Netflix and spending time with her boyfriend and friends.
Christian was first introduced to softball in the sixth grade. Her best friend wanted Christian to try out alongside her. Christian made the team, while the friend did not.
She later played for four years at Brentwood High School in her hometown of Brentwood, Tennessee.
“Once I started playing it, I loved it,” Christian said. “Just being close to the team is something I’ll always hold close to my heart. I’ll never take that for granted.”
Christian said she can go to any member of her team, even the ones she spends less time with, for help with anything. Her best friends are on the team, she said.
This year, the team has had to overcome injuries to essential players, Christian said. When Alex Williams, senior athletic training major and leftfielder and pitcher, broke her wrist, the team had to rise to the occasion, Christian said. Continuing to play and win without such an important player was a huge deal, she said.
When Williams recovered and came back, it was a time for the team to celebrate together, Christian said.
“The definite number one thing I love about our team is how we put God first in everything we do,” Christian said. “We pray before every game and leave it all out on the field for him and for our teammates.”
Christian said she loves seeing diverse people strive for a common goal. She also wants students who are not athletes to realize that athletes are essentially the same as everyone else.
“We’re just going to school and hanging out with our friends and playing a sport that we love,” she said.