COLUMBUS, Ohio — BYU's Ben Patch has proven to be quite the talent on the volleyball court but has shown talents beyond just that in pursuing a better balance to his life.
Last September Patch asked for time away from the team to shoot photographs for a particular out-of-state wedding. While not knowing the name of the groom, Patch was aware of the bride, former BYU soccer player Kayla Varner.
It so happens that Varner was to marry MLB star Bryce Harper, a fact BYU coach Shawn Olmstead was familiar with, as he retold the story to the media during Wednesday's NCAA Tournament press conference.
“He’s rubbed shoulders with guys like that, so he’s pretty good at what he does. That’s for sure,” Olmstead said.
With that new talent, Patch has been given the opportunity to shoot many weddings professionally including the wedding of his teammate Jake Langlois. The pursuit is so he can be released from the rigors of focusing just on volleyball.
“I got into it as a way to kind of keep myself balanced,” Patch said. “It kind of opened myself up in a new way and doing this helped me stay balanced as a human being.”
BACK HOME IN COLUMBUS: Patch's home is in Provo, but playing in the NCAA Tournament gives him an opportunity to return to where he served his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While in Columbus he's been able to reconnect with some members, share some of his favorite spots with teammates, and experience some extra cheers on Ohio State's home court.
“There were quite a few people from my mission here last night who are members, so it was really, really awesome to be here,” Patch said. “I kind of felt like playing in front of family again, so it was cool.”
A NEW ROLE: Despite proving to be one of the most fearsome hitters at the net, on top of being a first-team All-American, Path has been made to embrace a new role, in part due to injury issues which have sidelined him for almost half the year.
His role, which could very well be reprised come Thursday, is coming off the bench for Tim Dobbert, who has played at a top level throughout the season.
“It’s a position I haven’t been in the past few years, so trying to grapple with that and understand my role is a new thing for me,” Patch said. “It’s actually been humbling in a lot of ways to learn kind of a new mindset. So it’s something I’m grateful for.”
MARRIED, BUT NOT NECESSARILY MATURE: The media inquired of Jake Langlois on Wednesday as to any advantages he may feel being married and even having a child, with the suggestion that he's more mature because of it.
True to his laid-back and sometimes sarcastic form, Langlois quipped, “I wouldn’t say I’m mature from it, but I don’t have to stay out and date. I can go to bed every night at nine or 10 and no issues. So that’s an advantage for me.”