The Unlikely Athlete

Junior, Ben hamming is quick to label himself a nerd. He explains that his knowledge of physicsand interest in science lead many to think of him solely as a computer expert and star student. 

Although Hamming does indeed excel in his academics, he explains that there’s more to him than meets the eye. When he’s not busy working on homework or in class, you can often find Hamming on the tennis court.

“People would see me on the tennis courts and be like, Ben you play tennis, and then they would watch me for a while and be like wow, you’re pretty good,” Hamming said.

Hamming is a third year varsity member of the Whitworth men’s tennis team. Tennis practice acts as a time to relieve stress and put his competitive nature to use, Hamming says.

“Competition is really motivating,” Hamming said. “I think there are lots of things I’m not competitive about, but once I decide I want to win I’m determined to do it.”

As a little kid, Hamming played badminton with his grandpa and eventually transitioned into playing tennis. He continues to enjoy badminton however, looking for any opportunity to find a worthy opponent.

Hamming and his partner were the badminton tournament champions this year, making it their second victory in a row.

“I was probably the only person there who could really smash well,” Hamming said. “I look forward to the tournament every year, there’s a lot of good competition.”

Sports have always been an important aspect of Hamming’s life. Today, in addition to his expertise in tennis, Hamming finds time to participate in Whitworth intramurals and local athletic events such as Bloomsday, an annual 12K in Spokane.

Hamming is currently training to run this year’s Bloomsday.

“Being in better shape is always good for tennis,” Hamming said. “The guys on the tennis team that were going to run it decided to be team Shanks, because he’s our tennis coach. We wrote yeah baby on the front of our shirts because that’s his signature phrase.”

Even after Whitworth, Hamming hopes to remain active and continue playing tennis into old age.

Story by Allison Marshall

Photo by Anita Wang

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