Amanda Morris walked into the Record office today wearing a soft gray tank top under a pale pink sweater, paired with pearl earrings and jeans. Maybe it sounds like an ordinary outfit for a college student, but there is one important accessory to point out: the pearl earrings. In my humble opinion, they are the most distinctive mark of a true journalist. We female writers, we like to be classy—and class is something sophomore Amanda Morris does not lack.

However, a year ago, Amanda would not have been caught dead wearing that same outfit–especially those earrings. Last year, instead of wearing pearl earrings and sweaters, Amanda spent a majority of her time in quarter length softball capris, t-shirts, and baseball caps. You see, a year ago, Amanda probably would not have considered herself a journalist. Instead, her primary identifier would have been “athlete.”

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Amanda grew up playing soccer and t-ball, but when she started playing softball in middle school, she knew she wanted to become the best. She played every season and almost every day after joining a competitive team at the age of 13. It quickly became her whole world. Softball was the sport her family bonded over, and the thing she was most proud of. So after receiving her recruitment letter and financial aid package from Wheaton, she knew she’d be leaving her tight-knit family in sunny California to play ball in Chicagoland.

Although she had planned to play softball all throughout college, God had other plans. Amanda’s first season of softball was plagued with difficulties. First off, it was hard to transition from a supportive home life to a team that didn’t feel very much like a family. Instead of being welcoming, she faced a group of girls that were extremely competitive and game-focused. Amanda reflected on her experience with this saying:It’s hard to play for God when you’re also playing against (each other). There are only select spots open, and so when you mess up it’s hard to be like “Okay God, that’s fine. Let me find a different way to glorify you.”’

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Amanda wanted her spiritual life and sports life to be intertwined, but she felt like God was absent, and character was missing from the team. Amanda noticed when teammates struck out that “they threw their equipment in the dug-out and swore or cussed.” Amanda felt like “a line was being crossed.”

It wasn’t just her teammates that weren’t focused on playing for God. Amanda began to realize that softball had become an idol in her life. It started to consume all of her time, and it was prioritized as most important. “Softball came before my academics, my friendships…everything. And that was the feeling of the team” explained Amanda. “I didn’t see God in softball. I saw him everywhere else and I knew there was something wrong.” That was when she decided it was time to quit. Though, leaving softball was harder than she had expected. Amanda had spent so much of her life playing softball that it was hard to readjust to life without sports.

Amanda shares her experience leaving softball in this clip:

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Leaving athletics also brought up a lot of questions for her. “It made me question how I want to live out my faith, the things that I idolize, my ego, and whether the people I associate myself with help me draw closer to my faith.” But through these questions she has been able to find God. Amanda says she’s grown in her trust of God. She finds that “If I trust in Him, everything will get better.”

And things have gotten better. Amanda joined the Wheaton Record staff this past year as News Editor.  Her kindred spirit, easy-going attitude and classiness are three of the many invaluable traits she adds to the the campus newspaper’s staff. Through her work there, she has continued to grow and flourish in journalism. She plans to pursue a career in a writing field, and dreams of being a travel journalist. Outside of her love for writing, she has found new passions in running marathons, eco-friendly living, and experimenting with cooking.  Amanda is excited to see what challenges come next.

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Looking back, life without softball has been better than she ever could have imagined. Amanda says, “This past spring has been really good. I’ve just put a lot of effort into trying to know God more, and so I have grown in my faith.” Through her relationship with him she’s realized that, “God led me to Wheaton for the reason of quitting (softball) here, and then finding more new and more passionate desires elsewhere.”