Amanda Jones Martin '03 played softball for the Bruins from 1999-2003 and helped the Bruins transition from a Division I Independent program to one as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Even though she plagued by injuries, Amanda saw action in 163 games while playing the outfield and first base positions. A key player at the top of the batting order, she ranked in the top-three on the team in stolen bases and runs scored twice during her BU career and currently ranks in the top-10 in school history in career stolen bases.
She recently spoke with BelmontBruins.com about her Belmont experience and her current life as a physical therapist and nature photographer in Olympia, Washington.
Why did you choose Belmont?
I had dreamed of playing for a Division I school since I could remember, but unfortunately, I suffered a serious knee injury just before my senior year in high school, and a lot of the bigger schools that had recruited me disappeared. I was about to commit to another school when I got a phone call from Coach Watson. I made my campus visit and felt immediately comfortable in the environment. I felt Belmont was a place I could grow as an athlete and as a student.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
Probably playing in front of my friends and family when we would face UT-Knoxville each season, since I'm from Knoxville. And even though I never would have admitted it then, I actually really enjoyed those long bus rides, bonding with teammates and coaches.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
Being a student athlete is about more than performance on the field, it is also about being representing your university with integrity, and Betty Wiseman always inspired me to take that duty seriously. She was instrumental in supporting our team through some challenging times and I hope she knows what an enormous impact she has had on so many.
I would also have to say my teammates were a huge influence on me as well. They become your family and for better or worse, you stick together, support one another, and learn from each other. Those lessons go on to serve you well later in life.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
In four years of play, I had injuries that kept me out for significant periods of time in three of those seasons. At different times I struggled, feeling I never lived up to my athletic potential and questioning why those things happened to me. During those low points, I had so much support from my teammates, coaches, and even professors at the school which helped me navigate those challenges and still thrive, even though my reality looked differently than my dreams at times. Because of my experience, I became interested in rehabilitation and physical therapy, which ended up being my profession, so I'd say things worked out the way they were supposed to in the end.
What advice would you give to current members of the softball team?
It goes quickly, so enjoy your time as a student athlete and enjoy your teammates- they are your family. Also, listen to your coaches and people with more experience than you and always seek ways to improve, not only as an athlete but as a student and a human. Belmont offers so many opportunities for growth off the field, and you should really seek to take advantage of that.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
I had great professors at Belmont, but two really stood out to me: Dr. Devon Boan, who was chair of the honors program at that time. His lectures were always thought provoking and challenging, and I always felt a connection to him because he was also a college athlete (baseball). I also really enjoyed the late Thom Storey's classes in the Journalism department, especially his Media Ethics class. Thom was so knowledgeable and challenged me to see life from various points of view outside of my own scope. I remember him attending some of our games when we played at Lipscomb, and it meant a lot to me that he took time out of his day to support us.
Where do you live now?
My husband and I live in Olympia, WA with our dog, Birch.
What is your occupation and what does your position entail?
I work at Providence St Peter Hospital in Olympia, WA as an outpatient physical therapist. I work with patients who have suffered neurological injury such as strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries or other neurodegenerative processes such as MS, Parkinson's, ALS, etc.
I have also gotten pretty into photography- landscape, night photography, and now with the recent pandemic, birds!
Tell us about your family.
My husband Shaun and I got married shortly after I graduated from Belmont. We moved to Maryland where we both attended graduate school and then to Washington in 2009. Shaun is a middle school principal in the Tacoma School District. From 2018-2019 we took a year off from work and traveled all over North and South America in a campervan that we retrofitted. We returned to work last summer and got a dog. We spend all of our free time outside- backpacking/hiking, fly fishing, snowboarding, and photography.