April 6, 2006 - by
Two Sides to Every Story

April 6, 2006

         After missing 15 games during the 2005 season and most of the fall softball practice due to health and personal reasons, Whitney Buckmon is ready to play. Though the sophomore outfielder’s face wasn’t seen throughout the entire 2005 year, she produced impressive statistics as a freshman. Buckmon started in 41 of the 46 games she played in, had one of the lowest strikeout totals and led all freshmen with 16 runs. With the outstanding performance shown during Buckmon’s freshman year, this year is expected to be a phenomenal.

        The exceptional playing style that Buckmon exhibits came from years of practice and hard work. During her high school years at Chamblee Charter High School, Buckmon was named player of the year in 2002 and 2003, earned 2003 GACA All-State and 6AAAA All-Region honors and nominated for the 2002 Gatorade player of the year. A player who possesses the amount of talent Buckmon exudes is not created overnight, it takes years of practice and determination. Her stardom in high school and college was ignited by her family and shaped by one of the best players in the country.

        “My whole family inspired me to play, but it was my father in particular who motivated me,” said the sports management student from Stone Mountain, GA. “He (Vernon Buckmon) used to be my coach. Now he coaches from the sidelines.” Though her father showed her the basics of the sport and molded the player that fans witness today, her style of play was influenced by someone on the opposite side of the country.

        “I model my game after Natasha Watley (a former short stop at UCLA),” said Buckmon. “I admire her calmness.” The quality that Buckmon respects about Watley is what makes her different from the other members of her team.

        “I have a natural face, a terminator face,” Buckmon said. This serious face is seen on and off the field. Walking through campus Buckmon maintains this “terminator face”, but her demeanor is not an indication of the type of person she is. “I’m a pleasant person, I just have a poker face,” said Buckmon. The look on her face is not the only thing that makes Buckmon a force to be reckoned with on the field. Before every game she plays she focuses on the task at hand by entering a zone created by her music.

        Before every game “I love to be alone and listen to my iPod,” said Buckmon. “This is how I concentrate and get in a zone.” Buckmon enjoys many music genres but on game days there are certain types of music that prepare her for what’s to come. “I like Sean Paul and Usher, I like to listen to dance music, but mostly I listen to a lot of gospel,” said Buckmon. “I like to listen to things that calm me down.” Even though Buckmon uses music to calm her down before taking the field, her competitors will never experience this calmness. Instead opposing teams will face the storm that ensues after the calm.

        “I’m a spark,” said Buckmon. Buckmon professes to be one of the fire starters on the team. “I use my speed to make difficult plays,” Buckmon noted. “Putting a bunt down makes the other players on the team excited.” There is no denying Buckmon is a great softball player, but her star shines just as bright off the field.

        When Buckmon is not playing she can be found at a local elementary school being an inspiration to young children. “I love to volunteer,” said Buckmon. “I love speaking to kids and encouraging them. It makes my day when a little girl comes up to me and says they want to play softball when they grow up,” said Buckmon. Volunteering is not only a noble gesture for Buckmon, but it is also therapeutic. “It makes you forget about the world,” said Buckmon. Her time spent volunteering in college wasn’t the first time Buckmon was seen as a model citizen.

        In high school Buckmon served as a student ambassador for People to People. “People to People is an organization that allows American students to travel to different countries to learn the ways of life of students overseas,” said Buckmon. “A teacher at my school felt I could make a difference in the lives of other students. We traveled all over the United Kingdom and the Mediterranean.”

        Although Buckmon is a motivation to children, a spark plug for her teammates and a talented outfielder with the face of a terminator, the word that she uses to describe herself is crazy. “Crazy can be good and crazy can be bad,” said Buckmon. “So yes, I’m crazy.”


Written by Brandi Wilkerson

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