Shy Yamasaki, Staff Writer
For this athlete spotlight, the Belltower interviewed Malia Pinder, who plays on the softball team as a Junior here at Saint Martin’s University. She started playing at a young age, being only in the second grade playing in high purple socks. Which, for her, was the start of her softball career. The inspiration behind her many years of softball is her father. He was her coach growing up and bonded through softball, amongst other things. “He taught me to compete, to be passionate, and to work hard. Over time, the values he instilled in me continued to inspire me to be a better athlete, student, and community member,” Malia states. Furthermore, Malia has very important goals to accomplish during her time here at SMU.
One goal she has is to teach underclassmen how to compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, or GNAC’s. Malia states, “The conference can be tough, and I want them to succeed to elevate the program after I graduate.” She was also lucky enough to earn First Team All-Conference and All-Region honors last year. So, she is determined to strive to get those titles again this year. A core memory for her was when the softball team traveled to California and had a huge dance party on the field before their second game. Malia stated, “It was just so fun to dance with everyone and type each other up. Dance parties are my favorite.” Besides playing softball, Malia is an active community member here on campus. She is the Co-SAAC President alongside Jas Dhatt, a senior at SMU. Malia is also the Senator of Athletics on our Associated Students of Saint Martin’s University, or ASSMU for short. Additionally, she had an amazing opportunity to intern at Capitol City Law as a legal assistant and loved the overall experience. Lastly, she works for the Office of Admissions giving tours to prospective students.
You may be asking how she has time to manage all these great accomplishments. She states, “Time management is so tough! It’s all I know though. My whole life I have been a student-athlete, so you get into a routine and you understand what works for you.” Malia tries to get a lot done before practice so she can focus hard and be in the zone. Whenever she is tired after practice, she ensures she eats and goes to bed on time. “I’m a morning person though, so this works really well for me.” Malia states. A tip or trick Malia has to give to any student is to prioritize the things that make you most happy and that you can find a purpose in. “Don’t get too caught up in any one thing, find a healthy balance! Sports don’t define your worth as a person, no matter how much of your identity it is. The kind of teammate, person, and active member of society you are is so much more important,” Malia states. Even though balancing school, sports, and having a social is tough, so many people in the community here at SMU are living proof that it can be done.