There is one word Amanda Scarborough uses to describe her time as a student-athlete at Texas A&M — Impactful.
Whether it was her classes, teammates or the lessons learned from head coach Jo Evans, Scarborough said her years in Aggieland are something she will always cherish.
“I feel like I left A&M with a new role model in [A&M head] coach Jo Evans that I didn’t have before I got here, some of my best friends and some of my best memories of my life,” Scarborough said. “My time at A&M was super impactful. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my time. I wouldn’t have picked a different school or a different situation. I loved every single aspect of coming here and being a student athlete.”
Scarborough, Class of 2008 and 2011, was a pitcher for A&M softball between 2004 and 2008 before taking her current role as a softball analyst for ESPN.
With a full schedule — classes, studying, practices and games — she said her biggest asset was learning when to take a break.
“It’s finding time in your planner to make time with friends where you’re not talking about softball,” Scarborough said. “ Most of the time your friends are your teammates but you go out and do things together where you just commit, ‘hey, we’re not going to talk about softball, we’re not going to talk about games.’ Even if it’s just for a dinner or a movie.”
Scarborough said taking time for friends or family is important, especially when competing in college athletics.
“You learn to be strong,” Scarborough said. “You’re going to go through ups and downs of your season, but you can’t let that affect your school and how you are as a friend and how you are as a family member. All of that still has to stay consistent, despite what’s going on on the field.”
Despite her passion and dedication to the game, Scarborough didn’t see softball in her post-grad life. She wasn’t sure what career she would settle into, but it wasn’t until Scarborough suffered a Lisfranc fracture that realized she didn’t want a life without softball.
“I got injured my senior year and it made me appreciate the game even more because I wasn’t able to go out there and play and I had a different role in our team in 2008,” Scarborough said. “I went from thinking I was burnt out to then having it taken away and really finding that it was my love, my passion.”
Along with calling college softball games for ESPN, Scarborough is one of the four founders of The Packaged Deal, a softball clinic that travels around the U.S. to teach and inspire young players.
Scarborough said sharing her love and passion for the game is her way of giving back.
“I wanted to be able to create my brand and give my knowledge to younger girls or even coaches, who were adults and older than me but still looking for better information and a way to grow the sport and grow themselves and their players,” Scarborough said.
It’s been more than a decade since she played for A&M, but Scarborough said that there is still a sense of sisterhood with the team.
“While the players change and the rosters change, the legacy, the tradition and culture remain the same,” Scarborough said. “It’s the thread that’s woven through us that everybody who has played at A&M knows what it’s like and can talk about the old times and really bond over what each class, each roster has been through.”
However, there is one thing that stands out to Scarborough when she visits Aggieland now.
“Davis Diamond is just incredible,” Scarborough said. “It is the best stadium in the country. ...I feel like I’m floating walking through the stadium and giving tours to all my ESPN teammates and showing them everything. Everybody is just amazed.”
With the SEC Tournament beginning on Wednesday at Davis Diamond, Scarborough said the environment at the stadium as teams begin to arrive is filled with anticipation and excitement.
This season, the Aggies have had to face the challenges that come with having a young roster. But Scarborough isn’t worried because with Evans at the helm, she knows A&M won’t go down without a fight.
“Coach Evans is the type of coach that is not going to let you get down about losing two out of three or three out of three games in a series,” Scarborough said. “ She is going to tell you how to learn from it and be better the next time. What makes her so great is the fight and competitiveness she instills in you as a player.”
Scarborough uses this same mentality as an analyst.
“I feel like when I’m calling a game, I’m channeling my inner Jo Evans and everything that she taught us in our post-game meetings, pre-game meetings and mindset and mentality,” Scarborough said.
As she gets ready for the SEC Tournament in College Station this week, Scarborough said this is a full circle moment in her softball career.
“I still can’t believe I get to do this job with some great friends,” Scarborough said. “I’m still learning in every single game that I call along the way at the same place where I learned and took classes from. It’s a cool way to mesh everything together, and it truly is a dream come true.”