Sophomore Kayla Bose, known for her boundless energy, occupied two infield corners and served as designated hitter in 31 games last season, 23 of which she started. Currently battling an ACL tear, she has appeared in 13 of her team’s 20 contests. The righty slugger sat down with the ‘Prince’ to discuss subjects ranging from seasoning to Thomas Jefferson to oil painting.
Q: Where are you from, and what’s it like there?
Kayla Bose: I’m from Saratoga, Calif., which is a part of Northern California. It’s the best city. It’s right next to the Santa Cruz mountains, so it’s about 35 minutes away from the beach but not so close that I don’t have the “Valley Life” also.
Q: Could you describe NorCal’s advantages over SoCal?
KB: I think Northern California is more diverse. San Francisco is greater than Los Angeles. I’m a big advocate. I think you come across a wider variety of people. It’s also not as hyper-focused on the beach. The Santa Cruz beaches, their atmosphere is a lot chiller. And we’ve got cool lingo.
Q: Could you give us some nuggets of California lingo?
KB:There's "hella," which I get made fun of every day for. The problem is, being friends with Northern California people here permits me to say it very often. Then I’ll be in a group of New Englanders, and I’ll say “That’s hella funny!” And they’ll be like, “Hella? Really Kayla?” There was also the "hyphy"(pronounced hy-fee)movement. We put it in an email for the softball trip, and nobody understood what it meant. To get "super hyphy’d" … It’s like a rap culture with a little techno. It’s just super elevated. But “hella” is my favorite.
Q: Would you be salt, pepper or oregano? And why?
KB: I think I’d be pepper because not everybody likes pepper. So I’m the kind of thing that you have to try a couple of times, then you love it. You can’t eat eggs without pepper after a while.
Q: Could you describe the softball team’s role in the greater Princeton athletic community?
KB: I think that we are a very diverse team. We have almost every major on campus: from English to aerospace engineering to history to classics. We have a girl contemplating Woodrow Wilson or econ. We pull from a wide variety of girls on campus. We have a juggler: Skye Jerpback. She’s a sophomore and Forbesian.
Q: Could you describe your role on the softball team athletically and socially?
KB: I’m injured right now. I have a torn ACL, and I’m trying to play without it. So it’s wavered my role on the team. I think that I’m a vocal leader on the field, supporting our pitchers and trying to keep everybody even keeled. And I try to also lead by example, trying to do everything I can without a leg. Socially, I think I have a very good relationship with almost everybody on the team. And that helps, being a sophomore, because it creates a line from the 22-year old down to the 17-year old. So I feel very comfortable talking with or having lunch with anybody on the team.
Q:Your concentration is history, correct? Which historical figure would you choose to meet, and why?
KB: Yeah. And Thomas Jefferson. This is really embarrassing, but we had an on-site field trip when we were in middle school. Instead of going off-campus to a museum, you’d stay in the gym and they’d do some sort of historical thing. So we all got assigned people to be. And I got assigned Thomas Jefferson. I came in a suit and a white wig. One thing I learned about him was that he wasn’t as outspoken as any of the other leaders. They’d say he’d use his pen over his mouth. And it’s something that I think I need to learn from, because I’m very opposite. As an eighth grader, I was like, “You know what, Kayla? It might behoove you to not speak all the time.” And he read a lot, which I also need to do.
Q:What’s your favorite part of softball and least favorite part?
KB: I think my favorite part is all the opportunities you have to be great. So it might not happen every game, it might not happen every inning, but there’s the opportunity. I think it’s also the worst thing, because you only have a very small window to do something. So it’s, I’d say, the hardest thing but also the best lesson I’ve learned.
Q:Do you or any of your teammates have any notable pregame rituals?
KB: I have an in-game ritual. If I don’t get a hit my first at-bat, I change my hairstyle. If your home girl strikes out, it’s definitely going to be a pony-tail, because it allows me to do my own thing in the corner. I also wear my belt upsides down.
Q:Any team rituals?
KB: We do the locomotive before every game. This is the first year we’ve been trying to do that.
Q: Could you describe the environment of a Princeton softball game?
KB: It’s pretty loose. (Sophomore) Danielle Allen usually dances prior to games. And our coaches are awesome in terms of keeping it fun and relaxed. That’s how we play best, I’d say. Loose. Maddie Cousens and Torie Roberts, our captains, do a great job trying to keep it even keeled. The thing about softball is that you can hear everything everybody says. So if you came to our game and said, “Kayla, you’re weird!” I could hear you. So it allows for the dynamics to be very interactive, and I think that’s the best part about it.
Q:On that note, could you talk a little bit about the role of heckling in games?
KB: Gosh. Heckling is very funny. But it also can be very mean. But I grew up with a brother, so, ergo, very funny. I can tell you that I’ve seen it gone awry. We played at Coppen State last year, and their baseball team came. They were yelling very crude things at our pitcher. That was not a good example. But in general it allows us to relax. Softball can be so uptight when you make an error. So hearing somebody heckle one of your friends can be funny. There’s a fine line, but I like it.
Q:What’s the best class you’ve taken at Princeton?
KB: Race, Drugs and Drug Policy in America with Keith Wailoo. I’m really interested in American history, but it also gave me a side of society which I’ve never really seen. For example, every drug comes into this lovely country, and we’re like, “It’s a miracle!” But then we realize, “Wait, heroin, you’re not a miracle.” And I wrote a really cool paper on birth control. I thought it was interesting.
Q:You took AST 205: Planets in the Universe last fall. Based on that experience, who is your favorite member of the astrophysics department?
KB: Oh my gosh. Well, there’s professor Gaspar Bakos. But there’s also Brandon Hensley or Pete (Petchara Pattarakijwanich). Brandon and Pete were the best TAs. But Gaspar was the best because I had never met him, and I walked into his office and he greeted me (in a thick accent) “Kayla!” And I was like, “That’s my name. I love you.” He’s so freaking smart that I feel like we all have it in us. And constellations are so much better because we had to look at them in 20 degree weather. I also would qualify myself as an astrophysicist after taking the class. One time I was in an interview, and I commented that I dabbled in astrophysics.
Q:If you could play a sport other than softball, what would it be?
KB: Basketball. I actually first tore my ACL playing basketball. I was a four, so I was a forward, slash post player. We ran a 4-1 when I was in high school. I’m a super physical player, so I always drove to the hoop and tried to draw fouls. I also always guarded a girl a foot taller than me, so offensive fouls were my strong suit.
Q: What hidden talent do you have that most people wouldn’t know about?
KB: I can paint. Oil paints. I took a class back at home and I have one enormous landscape to prove it. My grandfather was a painter, so growing up I always painted. Taking the class, I made the one really cool landscape and I was like, “That’s it! Picasso! And I’m done!”
Q: If you could be one color on the oil paints pallet, which would it be?
KB: I think I’d just be green. One, you use green a lot. Also, gender neutral. A boy might like green, a girl might like green. Accessible, too. You can easily make green from the primary colors yellow and blue.
Q: Would you rather give up pizza or not be able to differentiate between muffins and babies?
KB: First off, how often would you see a basket of babies?
Q: In this scenario, you wouldn’t know.
KB: Damn … I would give up the differentiating. Because I actually don’t eat muffins ever. But I can crush a Papa John’s large. $7.99. That’s a Papa John’s plug right there.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
KB: Hey, my name’s Kayla. I’m here to party. Also, occasionally hit bombs.