We Are Warpaint

Alex Booker is an individual that is the epitome of what we consider well rounded.  Her passion and drive fuel her aspirations, but what makes her truly exceptional is her understanding that she has arrived at her accomplishments through hard work, perseverance and un-wavering support.  Her platform as a professional athlete is something she takes extremely seriously, because being a role model to the next generation of softball players in not only an honor, but a duty.  There is an element of grace that she exudes as she describes her journey from competitive little sister, to passionate cook and explorer to professional athlete and coach.  

We Are Warpaint is proud to support women like Alex, because she understands that the experiences she's consumed shed perspective on how to impact the next generation in an effort to help guide them toward their passions.  She impressively does all of this through the medium of softball...

We Are Warpaint is proud to be a part of Alex Booker's journey and even more elated to provide her the platform she deserves.  

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT:  Softball is not a major... Do what you LOVE

WP:  How has softball impacted your life?

AB:  Softball has not only impacted my life but it has become a way of life. As cliché as that sounds, I really could not imagine my life without it and to this day I have been given more and more opportunities to grow through this sport than any other segment of my life. I began by playing baseball when I was younger and never actually grew fond of this sport until my choice to play softball at the collegiate level was before me. Originally, I entered college as an architect major but realized that I could not spend my entire life without sports as my true career. So here we are!

WP:  You are a graduate from the University of Illinois, where you consistently lead your team in batting average & stolen bases. What was it like to compete at a Division I program?

AB:  To compete at a Division I softball program it took resiliency and true passion. There are numerous opportunities to play softball around the country but to compete for a Division I school meant much more than the on field commitment. We were pushed in the classroom academically where we needed to meet certain academic standards at a top-25 rated public university.  We needed to commit to a set number of hours for study table, mandatory checkups with our athletic trainers, weight training at odd hours, complying with any aspect of school which non-student athletes would have to, and all of this while attempting to dabble in the social setting around campus.

WP:  You are currently a graduate assistant at Texas A&M University-Commerce, what’s it like coaching softball vs. playing softball?

AB:  Coaching vs. Playing: Round 1 *Ding* *Ding* *Ding*

Where to start? Coaching and playing are definitely two completely different sides of sports.  To date, I'm tipping my toe into the huge lake of coaching collegiately but I will it was a tough transition to responsible for players rather than focusing on myself as an athlete. Playing is great, nothing to worry about, coaches prepare us for games and we get to play ball and have fun. On the other side of things, I feel like the worried mother when I'm coaching because I have no control of what actually happens in the game besides trusting that the preparation I've given my players is enough.

I always have the mindset to beat the person in my position on the other team when competing, but now that turns over to me attempting to beat the other coaching staff and see who has the better game strategy at the end of the day. Of course there are overlapping themes to the game of softball and simply having respect for the game itself is always a must. Keeping that in mind, coaching is definitely a great learning opportunity for me because I'm seeing the game from a different angle and now I can understand why I may have driven some of my former coaches absolutely nuts!  Sorry about that coaches if you’re reading this...

WP:  What person(s) have impacted your softball career and why?

AB: The two people who have impacted my softball and sports career in general the most would have to be my mom and my brother. When I was growing up, my mom would put me in every sport possible so that I could try them all and make a decision as to which was my favorite. In the mean time she became my biggest cheerleader over the years. Although my mom may have not known each and every rule of the dozens of different sports I was playing, she has been the parent that has always quietly snuck around to the open space of whatever field I was participating on and kept to herself knowing that just having her present meant more to me than any other gesture. Enjoying the atmosphere of each of my sports was what my mom was all about and she continues to do so with my professional career, always picking a seat where she can get the best view of me and shy away from the rowdy fans.

Now, my brother on the other hand, was definitely a more hands on influence on my softball career. As we grew together, just about anyone who knew us when we were younger would mistake us for twins because we both competed on the same teams (me on the boys teams) and we always looked about the same age. Although he is just less than a year and a half older than me, we were able to participate together in all facets of the sports world. This absolutely was my pushing factor to being competitive and learning how to toughen up to play with the boys. From street basketball to baseball to soccer to racing to a roller coaster ride at a theme park, our athletic abilities were always pushed by each other.

WP:  What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?

AB:  I LOVE to cook. Most people see me as the rough and tough athlete on the field but I have a much different side of me at home. I enjoy cooking and playing a more motherly role for any of my teammates, friends, and family. Making sure other people are taken care of is one of my priorities, and I literally wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing that I didn’t put my best effort forward in that sense.

WP:  What is your favorite quote?

AB:  I have two favorite quotes, both of which I like to live by:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.” –Dr. Seuss

“Respect all, fear none.”

WP:  When you’re not playing or coaching softball what do you like to do?

AB:  When I am not playing or coaching I like to do lots of things! Go to the field to hit…wait that’s playing. Let’s see, I also like watching softball on TV…wait that’s coaching. Really I promise I do things besides softball!

Only kidding, I truly enjoy being out in nature! Going from snowboarding to hiking in the mountains - I enjoy it all. Traveling is one of my main hobbies. I enjoy seeing the different landscapes of our country and hopefully one day I will have the time to go overseas and see another continent! Living an active lifestyle is not only something that I enjoy because of the health reasons but because it is my true release. Enjoying a walk and talk with my mom is something I try to incorporate into my schedule at least once every week when I am in the Chicagoland area. We have hiked mountains together so it seems fitting that we skip catching up on the phone and just talk in person while seeing some amazing scenery! 

WP:  Describe the day you officially signed on to play professional softball: What was it like? How did you feel?

AB:  The day I officially signed on to play professional softball was honestly a dream come true. There is no other way to describe it. Having another opportunity to play fastpitch softball competitively was the greatest gift I could have received last year. I was honestly stunned because I had thought that my career may have been coming to an end. Of course I would pushed and made my way onto a team eventually because of my drive but I am very fortunate that the Chicago Bandits organization was the team to put up with me last season.

Although signing the first time was an amazing experience, I think what was even more exciting for me was when I was asked if I would like to come back for a second season as a Chicago Bandit. I couldn't and didn't turn that offer down and I am more than excited to be continuing my professional career by learning next to some of the best players in the world.

WP:  If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring collegiate softball player, what would it be?

AB:  LOVE what you do. We all have different passions and I think everyone should absolutely love what they choose to do with their life. Softball is not a major so make sure that the college selection process has more to do with what you want to spend your life doing rather than 100% being related to the playing experience. There is much more that goes along with choosing a college than softball itself so if I could give any advice, it would be to choose a school that you will absolutely love for many reasons. For example, one of the main reasons I chose to play at the University of Illinois was because they had the best architecture school in the nation at the time—yes that’s right, I wanted to be an architect at one point. After I made the choice for the best school for my aspirations I paired that with the sport that I love making my collegiate experience impactful on so many levels. Not to mention, if you want to one day play professional softball, you have to graduate college. There is not a single player in the NPF who is not a college graduate, so in order to play, you have to have the book smarts as well!

WP:  If you could design the next We Are Warpaint color, what would it be?

AB:  Because orange has just come out as a new color, I would say that the next color I would want would either have to be a chrome or charcoal color. Something that says, I’m tough but still has a little shimmer!

Written by Jenn Holt — July 31, 2015

Comments

Don A in Pennsyltucky:

I’ve been to 2 NPF games — Bandits at Rebellion. The first one was a blowout and I think everyone got into the game. The next year (this year) on opening day the score was a lot closer so substitutions were limited. Alex didn’t get into that game but her positive attitude was obvious between innings as she and others kept loose along the right field line. I also had a chance to chat with her after the game as she autographed my Bandits hoodie. I was bummed out when she was released but then she showed up at a game to meet with a fan — a very classy thing to do.

August 03 2015

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