For the past year-plus my weekly sports columns have revolved around anything trending in professional sports, with an occasional take on college football. Though sometimes controversial, it is my goal throughout this year to continue providing you with my opinions on what’s happening in sports today.
However, this week I wanted to take this column in a bit of a different direction, and focus it on something happening right on this campus. Something that I was a part of, that unfortunately no longer exists.
As I am sure many of you may know I am a member of the baseball team. The past two seasons I have contributed at the varsity level, and as cliché as it sounds, it has been a dream come true of mine to play the sport collegiately. The memories that I have already made and l will continue to make this year, and the people I have met, always be something I cherish.
For me though, none of this may have ever happened if it was not for the school’s jayvee baseball program.
When I first came to school as a freshman in the fall of 2012, it was a goal of mine to make the varsity baseball team. I came in with the expectation that I would make the team because I was confident in my abilities, but I what I did not realize was just how tough it really is to make a college team, and that goes for any sport.
That spring, just four kids from my class made it onto the varsity team. Throughout the fall and spring season, I saw many of my classmates leave Springfield because they did not make the team right away.
While I did not come to Springfield College just to play baseball, I know for many people that was part of the deal. I knew two kids who left to go somewhere else after the fall semester of 2012 because they believed they had a better chance to play on the varsity team at another institution.
And if I am being completely honest, the fact that the baseball team did have a jayvee program did give me an added motivation to come to Springfield. While the foundation for my decision was built upon me seeing this as a school that would and has given me a great path towards success in Communications, I really did want to play baseball.
That freshman season on jayvee was really a lot of fun. I cannot thank the graduate coaches of that team enough for the work they put in that season to help myself and my teammates from that team to get to a playing level where we could contribute on the varsity team the next year.
Really, I have to thank all of the baseball coaches for valuing the jayvee program, and for the athletics department for sustaining the program.
However, that program is gone now, not just for the baseball team but for all sports. I won’t try to speculate, or even question the decision, because I am not in the shoes of those in charge of making those decisions, nor do I have the authority to challenge it. What I will say though, is that the athletic programs will miss having the jayvee program.
I know there are coaches that fought to keep it, because I am an example of why it helps to have one. I have already seen the difference not having a jayvee team has made this fall in baseball. Since we do not have a team, there are fewer kids that will be in the program this year.
I have always wondered, if we didn’t have a jayvee team when I was a freshman would I still be playing baseball? I tend to answer yes, but frankly, I don’t know. I don’t know what that season off would have done for my talents. I don’t know if I would have decided to join the club hockey team instead. Thankfully, I do not have to know what the answer would be.
It is really disappointing for me to see the jayvee programs go away here at Springfield College, but I really hope it doesn’t discourage athletes from trying out, because some of my best moments here have occurred while wearing maroon and white on Berry-Allen field.