Student-Athlete Spotlight: Alexa Zartman-Ball

Alexa Zartman-Ball playing on the Sarah Lawrence College basketball team

Alexa Zartman-Ball playing on the Sarah Lawrence College basketball team

“Alexa (Lex) is the epitome of a Division III athlete-she is a two sport athlete, strong student, an RA, and has had multiple internships. In regards to softball,  she is a passionate and committed member of the program who is constantly trying to help the team get better. Although only a sophomore, Lex is quickly becoming a leader of the team. Not only does she have a strong knowledge of the game, but she has the ability to put things in perspective and put her teammates first, which makes her a selfless player. I’m excited to watch Lex continue to grow as a Sarah Lawrence softball player.” - Chelsea Sheehan, Associate Director of Admission, Head Softball Coach

“Alexa is very dependable and fearless. She has a willingness to improve and sets an example with her effort. I'm excited at the level of improvement she's shown from last season to this season. Alexa will be a part of our main group of contributors this season.” - Bradley Alexander, Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Q: When did you start playing sports?

I started playing softball in middle school just as a pastime and didn't think I was going to continue in high school. However, the coach there recruited me to play at my high school, Madeira School’s team, and that’s when I fell in love with the sport, picking up travel ball my sophomore year of high school. So in total, I’ve been playing 7 years, but four years seriously.

Q: How did you start playing sports?

I’ve always been a giant nerd, and sports became my outlet to make friends when I was younger. However, later being an athlete became an integral part of my personality, and I was playing all three seasons of sports in high school, including field hockey, basketball, and softball. Now, I can't imagine my life without it.

Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals or pre-game meals?

I don't think I have any strange pre-game rituals or meals per se. However, my warm-up in softball is very particular. I have to follow a certain order to feel I will be successful that game. I first stretch, doing certain stretches at certain times, then you always bat before you throw. This is very important. I hit heavy balls first, then bunt, then hit off the tee. Then comes throwing and my fielding warm-up. If I do this out of order, particularly my batting, I don't feel prepared for the game.

Q: When did you realize that you love playing sports?

My real love for softball hit me my freshman year of high school. I think it came down to a combination of those who made up the team, the coach, and the sport itself. Softball is a sport of both physicality and intellect, and that’s what I really enjoy about it. I love the strategy that goes into the game behind the scenes, and there is always something for you as a player to improve upon. I love the constant challenge.

Q: What role do you play on your team(s)?

I feel that I play a mixed role. This year, I am certainly becoming more of a leader on the field as a returner. I am also finding a new place on the field as the team roster has changed. Softball is a sport of both individual and team, so you have to find a balance between juggling both. You will have individual strengths and weaknesses that have to play into the larger role of how the team works together, and at the moment, we are working at figuring out the best combination. However, this season we have a really strong team of talented individuals this season, and I am excited to see how we can all come together as a team!

Q: How have athletics shaped you to become the person you are today?

Athletics have shaped me in several ways that many people may not even acknowledge. Sports have helped me come into myself as a person and develop some of my strongest personality traits including my leadership skills, ability to talk and work with several types of people, and time management, with the added bonus of making me genuinely happy.  

Q: Describe yourself in three adjectives.

Ambitious, driven, and stubborn. My astrological sign of Taurus fits me really well.

Q: Besides athletics, what are some other activities with which you are involved at SLC?

I am the RA of Hill House 4-East. I am softball’s representative on SAAC (Sarah Lawrence Athletics Committee). Finally, I am also a member of women’s basketball!

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

I am very busy; therefore, hobbies don't fit into my schedule too often. However, I have an off-campus internship for the Women’s Education Project in Brooklyn and am an avid member of the United Nations Foundation Girl Up Campaign! So, if feminism counts as a hobby, then that’s my hobby!

Q: What is something that most people may not assume/know about being a student athlete at SLC?

Athletes at Sarah Lawrence are just like any other average student. I have heard a lot of rumours regarding special treatment of athletes in the admission process, or among professors, or receiving more financial aid.  Sorry to say it’s just not true. We apply like any other Sarah Lawrence student, fill out our FAFSA, and have the same graduation requirements as any other student. So I wish students would just know that.

Q: What is your most memorable moment as a Sarah Lawrence Gryphon?

I’ve only been a Sarah Lawrence Gryphon one year, and I can already tell you I have several memorable moments. One of the most resonating memories is actually from basketball, not softball, as we only had about 5-6 team members last year. However, every game, despite knowing our disadvantage, we would go out with the exact same amount of passion and heart and give all we had, until the end of all four quarters, no matter the score. If you ask me, even losing was my proudest moment of being a Sarah Lawrence Gryphon, standing alongside those that had given all they had and poured all of their hearts into the game.

Q: What is a motto that motivates you to work hard in your athletic and academic endeavors?

The quote that most stands with me is what my grandmother, who unfortunately has since passed, told me at a very young age, “‘No’ is the beginning to a great conversation.” A lot of people see no with a negative connotation; however, ‘no’ can just mean there is room for further improvement. Whether being turned down from an internship or work proposal, no just means you need to work harder to change that person’s mind.

Q: Who is the person you call after a bad day?

I would have to say my dad. He always finds a way to make me laugh and smile.

Q: Favorite follow on social media?

@girlupcampaign! Everyone should follow them! This campaign is at the head of the Women's Empowerment Movement and has been a part of my life since I was 13 years old. It grows with you from your youth to your adulthood.

Q: Favorite-

Song: Confident by Demi Lovato

Food: Fried Rice

Professional Sports Team: Yankees

Athlete: Simone Biles

T.V. Show: UnReal

Book: To Kill A Mockingbird

Class at Sarah Lawrence: 19th Century Women's Literature with Lyde Sizer

Spot at Sarah Lawrence: The rock outside of the Sports Center

Q: This or That-

Text or Call? Text

Phone or Laptop? Laptop

Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla

Early Bird or Night Owl? Early Bird

Cook or Order Delivery? Order Delivery

Uber or Lyft? Lyft

Bates or Pub? Bates

Stop & Shop or Trader Joe’s? Traders Joe’s or Whole Foods

Palden Lhamo ‘22

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.