Sports are not a hobby for Ohio State senior center Emily Haynam. They are a way of life. Whether she is stopping shots on the soccer field as a record-setting goalie on the Buckeye soccer team, rebounding missed shots on the basketball court or writing about various sports in the press box as a journalist, few things Haynam does in life do not involve sports in some way.
When did you get into sports originally?
“My mom said I was probably in diapers when I had my first baseball bat in my hand. I had an older brother who was very into sports. My dad would stay outside with us until it was dark outside. He always was out there with us and my mom would come out, too. It was just a family thing. We were a very outdoors family. I have an older sister who, when she was younger, was very interested in sports. She’s not very into them now.”
When was the first time you played sports competitively on an organized team? “I would say the first time I started competitively playing sports was rec (recreational) soccer. I got into youth soccer around third or fourth grade and then started playing rec basketball in fourth grade. It has just escalated from there. “
Do you have any family members who play sports?
“My brother, Travis, was a very competitive athlete. He loved baseball but then he got sick and couldn’t really play anymore. Now he is just, along with my family, my biggest fan. They all still love sports and love to watch sports. My dad will still go out in the driveway and play with us and so will my brother at times. None of them ever played anything competitive, though.”
So you started playing soccer and basketball around the same age, do you have a favorite?
“No, I really don’t. As a kid I played everything, including softball and volleyball. I tried a whole bunch of different things. I just loved to play. Whatever was in that season was what I was playing. Then soccer became my forte at first because I was traveling around with that, playing in tournaments. That’s how I got really involved with soccer. Then basketball took off, too, after that. In high school those were my two main sports that I really loved. I also did track in high school, but it was really just something to do in the next season.
Why do you play two sports as a collegiate athlete?
“I really love both of them. They both give me two different aspects of competing. In soccer I’m the last line of defense and that’s an adrenaline rush to stop somebody kicking a ball as hard as they can at you. To have the ability to stop it is a lot of fun and it gets your team fired up because sometimes it can be a huge difference as far as changing momentum.
“Basketball has the element of scoring for me and it’s fun playing defense and offense. It’s much faster paced. So I get two very different highs from the two sports.”
What’s your favorite part about playing sports?
“First of all, you get to meet so many great people. All my friends are pretty much my teammates and friends that I’ve made for life. That’s something that I love about it. It’s not something that you realize when you start playing, but that’s the thing that I’m going to take away from all my experiences. I don’t remember the specifics of a good game for me personally, but I think about all the people who were involved with me and all the tough stuff that was involved in getting to that point. So I think that is my favorite aspect of playing sports.”
Does anything you do in basketball help you with soccer or vice versa?
“Footwork in both sports is important. As a post player (in basketball), you are constantly getting around people, fronting the post, playing behind and moving on defense. In zone defense or man-to-man, you’re always moving your feet.
“As a goalkeeper you have to constantly be aware of what is going on around you and then moving your feet to put yourself in the best position to make a save. You have to not necessarily have speed, but quick feet and move in split seconds and it is kind of the same concept in basketball.
I think the individual training we do in soccer with goalkeeper training has really improved my basketball.”
Did you come to Ohio State with the intentions of playing both soccer and basketball?
“I played two years of basketball before I ever joined the soccer team. I am on basketball scholarship, but I decided to try and do both (soccer and basketball). One of my best friends, Mindy Hammonds, played soccer and basketball for Ohio Wesleyan and won a couple national championships. That kind of spurred my interest to see if I could do play both sports. I had a couple other friends at Ohio Wesleyan who played soccer and I just really missed it. I really enjoyed the time that I played soccer and I wanted to try to get that back.”
Looking back now, are you happy that you decided to try both sports?
“It’s been a tremendous experience. It gets tiring. It gets hard, but everything does in life. One of my favorite things that Coach (Lori) Walker, the soccer coach, told me was, ‘You make times to do the things that you want to do.’ This is something I decided and put my mind to that I wanted to do it. So far it has been a fantastic experience. I’ve had a new coaching staff come in here with the basketball team. That’s been a great new experience with them. I really respect that they have allowed me to play soccer, also. It is two completely different teams with two completely different personalities. That’s also given me a chance to learn more about people.”
How do your workouts coincide with each other in the offseason?
“Soccer fitness is pretty grueling, so I just basically leave the running to that. I have to be ready to go in August, whereas with basketball, training does not come in for another month and that’s when we start fitness for basketball. In soccer, we’re doing fitness all summer on our own and we have to be in shape and ready to go in August when we report. I pretty much get in really good shape during soccer season because we run so much, which means I’m already in shape as far as basketball goes. Also, I find time during soccer season to come in and shoot a little bit to keep my touch and I find ways to keep my ball skills up. A lot of the soccer girls are very good about rebounding for me.
During the summer, I’m a goalkeeper, so I’m always catching the ball. That helps me keep up my hand-eye-coordination. I just balance it. In the spring basketball does individual workouts, but then soccer has a spring season so I play in the soccer season. Last year after basketball season was over I took two weeks off and joined the soccer team two weeks into its spring season. I just did the bare minimum because I think both coaches probably realized that my body was worn out and I needed a break. I did some stuff with soccer, and kept doing basketball workouts and lifted weights three or four days a week. I took it somewhat easy. In the summer, I started hitting things hard and gradually built my workouts back up until I was ready to go.
Do you ever get worn down?
“Yeah, I am not going to lie. Sometimes I feel like everything is building, like I just don’t know if I can get up and go, but I just tell myself that I have to relax and just take some time for myself. I think about the things that will benefit me from it. The bottom line is it is just one more day. The important thing is to take everything day-by-day. You can’t think in the middle of soccer season, ‘Oh my gosh, in three months, I’m still going to be playing basketball.'”
What do you do when you are feeling worn down?
“I have great support because my parents live fifteen minutes away. I can go home and see them anytime and they’ll cook me a nice meal.”
What are you going to do after graduation?
“My next venture is probably going to be to try-out for the women’s professional football team in Columbus – the Columbus Comets. I think that will be a lot of fun. Aside from that, I’m excited for the next phase of my life. I’m excited to see what the world has for me outside of sports. Whatever comes along, I’m excited to put my education to use and get involved with my journalism degree. I might even go to grad school. There are so many options for me out there that I haven’t really decided anything specific, but I think playing for the football team would be extremely fun. It is probably not as intense as going to school and playing two sports, so hopefully I can relax and go back to some of the fundamentals of why I started playing sports in the first place.
When did you become interested in journalism?
“I became interested in journalism my sophomore year when Lauren Price became our sports information director for basketball. I was just talking to her one day and I asked her what she majored in, because I thought she had a really cool job, and I thought I might like to do the same thing some day. It was a way for me to stay in sports without playing or coaching.
What have you done in the field of journalism so far?
“I have written for The Ohio State University’s newspaper, The Lantern, for the past three quarters. I am currently working with the women’s professional football team here in Columbus, the Columbus Comets, as a volunteer. I write press releases for them, as well as Internet writing. I am currently working on player biographies for the team for the web site.
What has been your favorite experience?
“I have had a few funny experiences as far as covering professional men’s sports. I covered the (Columbus) Crew a lot this past summer, and the first time I went to a game and went into the locker room after the game, all the players were naked. I was the only female reporter in the room, and at first I was taken off guard. I took a deep breath and did my job, but I had a good laugh over it with some of my friends.
Have you had any bad experiences?
“There really haven’t been too many bad experiences. I had to call some police officers once at their house because I was getting a run-around on a story, and they were pretty upset at me calling them at home, but other than that, being a reporter has allowed me to broaden my scope and meet a lot of people.
What is the result of your time with The Lantern?
“I have tremendously enjoyed the opportunity to cover so many OSU sports and some of the other professional sports here in Columbus. As with the basketball and soccer teams, the ‘Voice of The Ohio State University,’ The Lantern, has years of tradition that I was just as honored to be a part of. Rose Hume is a tremendous advisor to the paper, and I respect her and my editors Melanie Watkins, and Matt Duval, as much as I respect my coaches and my teammates. It was an honor to be part of another Ohio State tradition.”