Inside Scoop: Brittany Minder

Feb. 11, 2009

Brittany Minder, a sophomore catcher and utility player, hails from Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, Calif. Minder saw 28 at-bats as a rookie in 2008 and stepped into the starting lineup last weekend as the team's designated player. Over the squad's opening weekend in Arizona, Minder hit .300 and belted her second career home run on just her third at-bat of the year. With four walks as well over the first five games, Minder also posted one of the team's top on-base percentages (.500).

Tell us about your interest in boxing. How did that come about?

Hmmm...the whole boxing thing. At my high school we were required to do a senior project to graduate. So, I decided to learn how to box with the intent to participate in a match at the conclusion of my training. I luckily found a set of incredible coaches at my brother's gym who agreed to train me and help me through the process. I started training September of my senior year. At first, it was like 2 times a week for 30 minutes. I just learned the basics: different punches (jab, right, uppercut, etc.), footwork, blocking, and breathing correctly (in through the nose while pushing out your stomach). Then around the second month of training, I began to do controlled sparring with my coaches. The training sessions began to get much more physically demanding and more often. Honestly, I've never done anything so difficult in my entire life. I have all the respect in the world for martial artists. At the end of my training (the 6 month mark), I was training everyday for at least half hour with my coaches, going to the gym 2 times a week, and doing roadwork (jogging like Rockaaayyy) 2 to 3 times a week (along with travel ball and high school softball). I was also on a really strict diet, so that I wouldn't get demolished when it came time to find someone to fight. The whole process-learning how to fight, making some amazing friends in my coaches and in the martial arts community, the accomplishment of doing something that physically demanding, and the actual fight...was incredible. Very few things (namely a world series ring) could top the experience of my training and fight. I don't really get to train that much anymore. Whenever I go back home, though, I get to spar and work out with my coaches, but it isn't anything serious. I would, however, LOVE to begin training for another fight (hint, hint to my wonderful coaches back home). Haha. I haven't really shown my teammates or coaches (more importantly) any serious boxing skills. Coach and I wrestle around and throw some fake punches every once in a while, all the time with him insisting he could destroy me if we went a few rounds...yeah yeah yeah. 'Mamma said Knock you out!!!!'

Is there anything you're 'addicted to' or spend a lot of time doing?

I wouldn't say I am 'addicted' to anything, but man do I love to 1) sleep and 2) play video games with some great classic rock turned up really loud. I can sleep ANYWHERE at any time of day. The feeling of snuggling up to something (the corner of a room, the floor, the couch, chairs) is fabulous. I could totally match the sleeping patterns of a sloth in captivity (i.e. 16 hours on, 8 hours off). I actually almost missed the flight to play at Washington once because I was curled up on the floor and nobody saw me to awaken me from slumber. I am, as you have probably guessed, reminded of this every once in awhile on road trips. Classic video games and classic rock...there isn't much else to say about that.

What did you write your Stanford admissions essay about?

I am pretty sure that almost everyone got the same questions for their admissions essays...so here's a kind of fun one - Discuss an academic interest and how you could pursue it in the future (or something like that):

I've always been really into how colors influence people's actions (subconsciously). I really don't know that much about the subject, but as an athlete, it would be interesting to do research about how the color of a team's uniforms subconsciously influence their opponent. Think about it the same way a bull fighter taunts a bull with the color red. In some states, it is illegal to paint the locker rooms red for fear of 'taunting the bulls' before they go out to play. So, I think it would be fun research to make the color of uniforms become a factor or section of a team's statistical analysis (how many losses did they have to teams who wore blue? are blue teams lulling their opponents into a subconscious sense of security?). Who knows. It would be fun to play with the numbers, though.

Is there one particular story or event that has affected who you are today?

There is one event that made a huge impact on my life. I was 8 years old, and it was my birthday. We were at some version of a popular pizza place, except with a less disgusting figurehead (i.e. a bear instead of a rat). I was really into power rangers at the time, and my uncle was helping me win tickets to get this awesome metallic-lined green ranger action figure. Long story short, I got my power ranger (obviously because my patient uncle played a million video games to help me get it). After getting my prize, I immediately went over and started bragging to my best friend about my new toy. I must have been incredibly obnoxious and rude because my uncle politely scolded me about bragging and gave me some careful instruction on the importance of humility and about talking about oneself. I guess a mixture of how much I respect my uncle and the timing of the scolding (at my birthday party in front of my best friend) really changed the way I approach patting myself on the back or talking about myself. Don't do it!!

What is the most interesting job you've ever had? Any funny stories from the experience?

I worked at the bookstore on weekends for four or five hours a day in the fall. The funny part, though, is that I worked in customer service. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not really a people person...to people I don't know anyway. I am kind of disgruntled, sarcastic, and altogether unpleasant to be around. The people in customer service are kind of the jacks of all trades: we are cashiers, phone answerers, university guides, and personalities. I am also a really relaxed person. I wear what I want. I walk barefooted when I can, and I say pretty much what comes to mind. So, wearing business casual clothing, with dress shoes, and having to be nice to people all day wasn't the easiest thing to do. There was this one time (the day I was leaving for winter break) that this kid came in trying to sell back some books...the conversation goes as such:
uptight boy: 'Can you guys give me money for these?'
irritable customer service employee/softball player: sassy toned 'Are you trying to return books you bought before the quarter...3 months ago?'
utb: 'No. I, uh, want to sell them back.'
icsesp: rings up books to get prices. all the books are over 100 dollar textbooks. 'Okay. This one is for 10 dollars. This is 3 dollars.'
utb: 'WHAAAAATTTT?!?!? Are you serious? That's ridiculous. I bought those books for such and such amount' bangs his hand on the counter.
icsesp: 'Hey there!! You need to simmer down man. I don't make the prices. I don't decide the level of demand for your book. I ring them up and tell you how much they aren't worth anymore. okay! Have a nice day.
utb: 'Can I still sell the books back?'
Hahaha.

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