Baseball players turn passion into profession

By Matt Hopkinson

Being able to perform something does not guarantee you can successfully explain to someone how to do it.

For four of NIU baseball’s seniors, Jake Hermsen, Alex Jones, Alex Beckmann and Brett Frantini are all majoring in physical education.

While Frantini see’s himself as a teacher, and possibly as coach, Hermsen’s main goal lies outside of the realm of education.

“Personally, I want to teach for a while, and go into grad school after college,” Hermsen said. “I’m looking to get a graduate assistant spot and hopefully get a job as a coach with baseball and work on my degree toward athletic administration. Ultimately, I’d like to work in administration.”

The influences to go into this field is relatively similar for all, as past experiences and enjoyment have come from being physically active, being involved in sports, and enjoying physical education in high school.

The desire to share that love of activity and also give children the possibility to enhance their health is another strong reason for this choice of study.

“It’s something I’ve always been passionate about,” Frantini said. “It’s also something I can relate to well, having played sports in high school and college.”

While the paths may be different, the initial responsibility for all four will fall into teaching, Frantini said being an athlete and student is a good way to prepare him for teaching and having to balance out time management, as well as the work ethic instilled in him through sports.

NIU coach Ed Mathey has seen the potential and ability first hand, believing all four have what it takes to become successful teachers in the future.

“I think they’ve got a passion for working with kids,” Mathey said. “I’ve seen them all work with the kids in our camps and they’re great. They make it fun for them. They’ve had a lot of help with their advisor in their department. It’s not easy balancing being an athlete and a student in the physical education department.”

The passion to teach stems not only from experience and involvement with athletics, it’s about lifestyle, which has become an important nation-wide topic, not restricted to areas of health and fitness.

“Going into college and not knowing what I wanted to do, I thought about what I enjoy doing,” Hermsen said. “That’s helping kids stay healthy, staying active; it’s a big part of my life. If I can lean other kids towards that, that’s what I want to do.”