By Evan Wheaton
Nick Bainter and Jeremy Lipsky exit the Flynn B. Campus Union on a Friday night and begin the walk back to their townhouse.
Cookies ‘n Cream milkshakes in hand, the two offensive linemen discuss their upcoming home game. They share a look, the same look they often give each other from time to time.
They’re thinking the same thing.
“How lucky are we?”
Bainter and Lipsky are in the heart of their fourth season at Springfield College– and they’ve spent every minute of their collegiate careers together thus far.
There’s a reason why the dynamic duo was steered towards Alden Street.
Bainter played at East Bridgewater High School in East Bridgewater, Mass. His head coach was Shawn Tarpey – a Springfield College alum.
Lipsky played at Glen Rock High School in Glen Rock, N.J. under two other Springfield alumni: Mike and Alonzo Escalante.
After they signed up for random roommate selection, the rest was history.
“I remember looking on his (Lipsky’s) Facebook and showing him to my parents and thinking I had a 30-year-old as my roommate for freshman year of school,” Bainter said. “But it turned out to be an amazing thing, he’s one of my best friends, my brother, the person I can count on through thick and thin.”
Bainter wasn’t always the distinguished 3-year starting center that he’s known as today. He originally came into the program as a middle linebacker. After struggling to understand the defense, the stars aligned.
“Literally the night before I got switched over to being a center, I said to Jeremy, ‘Dude, you guys look like you have the best time, I wish I was a part of that,’” Bainter said. “The next thing you know, after practice the next day, coach C (head coach Mike Cerasuolo) came up to me and he said, ‘Hey, we have an opportunity for you to play, this is going to be the quickest way if we move you to center,’ and I said, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ And it was one of the best decisions coach and I have ever made.”
Just like that, Lipsky found his roommate – his brother, right by his side on offensive snaps.
And the change couldn’t have been more seamless.
“Nick is a selfless kid, so it was an easy transition,” Cerasuolo said. “All he said was, ‘Whatever it takes for the team, coach. Whatever I can do to help the team.’ He moved over and you don’t find too many times that you have 5”10’ centers at 235lb that play the way he does.”
More often than not, Bainter and Lipsky can be found laughing and joking together in and out of the classroom. They know when it’s time to be serious, although their mischievous antics tend to carry over onto the gridiron.
“We definitely have our own unique style,” Lipsky said. “I’d say our senior class as a whole loves to play pretty loose and make a lot of jokes. I feel like Nick and I, sometimes we make too many jokes.”
Bainter added, “We make a lot of jokes and we’re able to get into opponents’ heads sometimes when we’re going back and forth like Dumb and Dumber.”
As first downs are picked up and the chains keep moving, Bainter and Lipsky refrain from trash talking their opponents. Instead, they do what they do best.
They have some fun together.
“They’re legitimately asking them (opponents) questions about when their birthday is and what type of food they like,” Cerasuolo said. “It’s very weird stuff and sometimes the kids get into it, and some other people probably have some choice words for them. But they approach it like this is a game and it should be fun. They approach it the right way, rather than ‘This is life or death.’”
Wholehearted banter at the line of scrimmage is one of their many traditions. And much like milkshakes before game day, the two can always be caught watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, the popular Food Network show hosted by Guy Fieri, at hotels before away games.
And they remain undefeated on the road when doing so.
“That’s a secret to success,” Lipsky said. “Flavortown.”
As fun and playful as they can be, Bainter and Lipsky know when they need to be sincere for one another on and off the field. Often staying up until 3 a.m. talking about life, the two have been through their fair share of adversity together.
“When something happens with our families, or a breakup, or just internal struggles or something’s going on with school, this is us,” Lipsky said. “Not that you can’t talk to a coach, or can’t talk to a professor, whatever it is, but at the end of the day when our beds are five feet apart and you have something on your mind, you have each other.”
Throughout the years, Springfield College has come to know Bainter and Lipsky as the inseparable pair.
The dynamic duo.
The “bromance of the Brotherhood.”
There was, however, a mirror image of Bainter and Lipsky before they entered the picture.
“Through my playing time here, I had a guy I was pretty close with, Cody Brown,” offensive line coach Bobby Bozym said. “We were in the same class and I think it’s pretty interesting to see the similarities between their relationship and how our relationship was and still is.”
Having graduated from Springfield College in 2017, Bozym and Brown were on their way out as Bainter and Lipsky came in. Like the sky’s image on a crystal-clear lake, Bainter and Lipsky reflect the tremendous bond carried by their predecessors.
“Through the four years it was a very similar relationship to what Nick and Jeremy have now,” Bozym said. “(We) know when it’s time to be serious but also had our fair share of fun here as well.”
Being brought together and sharing all of their experiences through college, Bainter and Lipsky have grown in a very organic way with one another. Springfield College was deeply ingrained in their high school roots, and now they’re both prevalent ambassadors of the institution.
“I think at the core level, this school prides itself on having incredible people,” Bainter said. “I think that’s our major selling point, I think that when you think of Springfield College, you don’t think of the Union, you don’t think of our library, you don’t think of our BA program, this, that, or the other thing. You think of the ground level thing, the type of people that are here, the type of people that come out of here, the type of people that eventually change the lives of many.”
The two have been in contact with Nic Keene, an assistant football coach for the Savannah Day Country School varsity football program in Savannah, Ga. Keene was an RGA for the offensive line at Springfield College and had a huge impact on Bainter and Lipsky.
Their current plan upon graduation is to spend a year coaching in Georgia before returning to Stagg Field for another two years.
They’ll stay involved in the game they grew up loving – the game that brought them together.
“Steel is hard because it’s been through the fire, and they’ve been through it together,” Cerasuolo said. “They’ve been through the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, and they’re going to come out on the other side better for it.”
With six more NEWMAC conference games lined up, the duo will focus on the rest of the season, and specifically, their next opponent.
And they won’t shy away from asking them what their favorite color is.
Photo courtesy of Daniela Detore