Press Box Thoughts: So long, farewell, until we meet again


by Aaron Young

Nine days. Just nine more days until my days in college are through and I’m out in the real world. No more baseball, no more history class reading and no more Simpson Student Media. 

It’s a scary thought when I think about it. We all say we cannot wait until college is over, but do we really mean it? I’ve said this at least half a dozen times a week to my roommates, because I’m tired of having to balance so many responsibilities and priorities. Day after day I’ve pushed myself to the bone in order to get whatever task(s) I needed to complete done, and for some strange reason, I continued to pile more and more onto my shoulders. Whether it was a new story assignment for The Simpsonian or the Indianola Record-Herald, something for baseball or classwork, I always tried to give my all – what more could you ask for out of someone? My goal has always been to leave a lasting impression in everything I do and on every person I meet. 

I’m going to miss that grind. I’m going to miss those days when I have to crunch out a 500-plus word story on a game or another student-athlete. I’m going to miss all of the late-inning drama with my teammates on the baseball team. But most importantly, I’m going to miss being at Simpson College. 

I wasn’t even supposed to come to Simpson, to be honest. Out of high school (Urbandale, in case you were wondering or didn’t already know), I signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Bemidji State University – a Division II school in Bemidji, Minn. – which is about eight hours or so from Des Moines. My dream of accepting a scholarship and playing college baseball came true, and if you knew me back in the day, my whole life revolved around the game of baseball. I’ve gotten to play at a countless number of incredible ballparks around the country, and I’ve even gotten the opportunity to play baseball in Japan along with one of my high school teammates and current Simpson first baseman, Tyler Craig. Every day after school, I wouldn’t go hangout with friends or do whatever the high school students were doing nowadays. I would meet my dad at the Urbandale Little League fields, and we would practice and workout until I was tired. This was all my choosing – this is what I wanted to do and of course, I’ve always hung on to those dreams of one day playing professional baseball. 

My first year of college was an unforgettable experience. I pitched right away as a freshman and contributed a fair amount of the pitching staff, both as a starter and a reliever. We usually were given the opportunity to play summer ball, whether it was in Minnesota or back in your state (or country), but our old assistant coach told me about this league in Boise, Idaho that he used to coach in and recommended me to try it out. Being the go-doer I am, I was only home in Iowa for about a week or so, then my bags were packed and I was on my flights to the “Land of Potatoes.”

I was in Boise for three months, and everything during my time in the league was all about baseball. I found success on the mound and continued to get better, and I was excited to bring my developed talent to Bemidji for my sophomore season. But little did I know at the time, I wasn’t going to play my sophomore season for the Beavers. 

I was extremely homesick about three or four weeks into the 2011 fall semester, and I wanted to come home. Being eight hours away from my family, not being able to see them and constantly being on the go took its toll on me, so I wanted to transfer closer to home. I originally didn’t want to transfer until the end of my sophomore season, because I didn’t want to let my teammates and coaches down, but I got the OK from our head coach to do whatever I needed to do and I was off the team after our fall workouts. 

When I was looking at school around Des Moines, my choices came down to Drake, Grand View, Central and Simpson. I wanted to continue playing baseball, so Drake was out of the running. Grand View has too many players on their roster, so they were also out. I didn’t really know Central as a college or a baseball program all that well, so they were gone. 

My parents are divorced and with my dad remarrying in 2001, he and my step-family lived in Indianola. This is the kicker though: As a kid, whenever I stayed the weekends or some weekdays with my dad, I absolutely hated Indianola. I found it boring. All I would do was ride my bike around town and get Tropical Sno when they used to be at the corner right in front of Ace Hardware off the square, and I knew if I was ever to get lost, I just had to look for the grain elevator as my “North Star” since we lived a block or two away from it. My dad and I would ride our bikes through Simpson’s campus, and I remember telling him, “Who would want to go to a school like this?” Ha. Joke’s on me. 

When one of my high school teammates was being recruited by Simpson head baseball coach Ben Blake, I came with my friend to a baseball game at McBride Field because they were going to talk with one another. Coach Blake pulled me aside and told me what he thought of me as a player, dating back to my sophomore year of high school, and told me if things didn’t work out in Minnesota, you’ve got a spot on this team. That sort of stuck with me during the transfer school choosing process, so I sent an e-mail to Coach Blake, and he wanted me to come right away. So, I did. 

I began classes at Simpson at the start of the 2012 spring semester, and I felt like the new kid in school again (even though I obviously was). It was hard for me transitioning at first, because I thought I was going to spend my four years of college in Minnestora. I left a lot of great things at Bemidji, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to find those opportunities again, this time in Indianola. Luckily, I did. 

I pitched exceptionally well my sophomore season, now for the Storm. Just like Coach Blake told me before I came here, I was going to contribute to the team in a lot of ways. I was fortunate enough to be tabbed as a second team all-conference selection after hurling a school season record 92 innings and record at 4-7. My life was still all about baseball, and I still hung close to those Major League dreams, but when I started classes that changed. 

Majoring in integrated marketing communications, it’s a requirement through our curriculum to take COMM-155, which was the practicum course for the Simpson Student Media. Having been a part of my high school’s newspaper, I thought this was going to be a ton of fun. I started out as a sports reporter, writing game recaps, previews, athlete profiles an had the chance to interview all sorts of sources. Luckily, at the 2013 Iowa Conference Media Association in February, I won two first-place awards for my work on Simpson Student Media – one for Best Sports Story and the other for Best Sports Feature Story. I still was all about baseball, but hey, this was pretty sweet, so I wanted to stick with it. 

Now juggling two passions in media and baseball, things started to get sticky. My junior season on the diamond was for better words, awful, but I had glimpses of strong innings like I was capable of throwing in the latter part of the season and in conference tournament. I worked my butt off to try and get back to the top-form, because I was being looked up to as a leader and I was letting those people down. That’s the worst feeling you’re ever going to have: when you cannot perform at the level others know you are able to o and the same can be said in reporting.

Fast-forwarding to the start of senior year, I was now doing work with the Record-Herald, the Register, Midwest Cage Championship as well as my duties as sports editor for Simpson Student Media and as a student-athlete. I was basically a one-man show during the fall semester, covering all of the fall and part of the winter sports on my own. Now, with the spring semester almost over, I’m grateful to say I have a pair of sports reporters who share a common bond in sports and enjoy covering Simpson’s teams. And with my college career almost over, it’s all starting to hit me.

It’s crazy how things work out in the ways they do. Right now, the baseball team is fighting to keep our chances alive in order to play at the conference tournament, and I’ve only pitched in five innings. I’ve had nagging shoulder issues all season long, and with how much I have to balance daily, I didn’t want to seek physical therapy because my time on the baseball diamond is over, or at least almost over. I’ve had just as much fun – if not more- cheering my teammates and seeing them make remarkable plays, collect big hits and throw crucial pitches. Even though I want to be back to the way things once were, I’m satisfied with being the leader by experience and not being the leader by example. It’s getting to be about that time where I hang my cleats and glove up for good, so as one chapter closes, another one begins, and that other chapter begins in nine days. 

I want to thank everyone for reading and engaging themselves in not only the sports staff of Simpson Student Media, but the entire student organization. As our student media advisor Mark Siebert once told us, “We’re doing our homework for 1500 people – weekly.” It gets pretty hectic on Tuesday nights in Gaumer when we’re trying to put together an exceptional newspaper full of interesting content for you to enjoy, so from all of us, your comments and interactions with any student media affiliation mean the world to us – whether they be positive or negative. It lets us know we are doing our jobs. 

I want to thank personally the Simpson coaches and fellow student-athletes for letting me cover your respective teams and tell your story from a different angle. You guys make the stories happen. I’m just the guy standing over with a laptap, iPhone, camera and notepad soaking it all in. 

I want to give a big shout out to my fellow journo buds on the staff of The Simpsonian and other outlets of Simpson Student Media. You guys are awesome, and it has been fun sharing the same passion for journalism day-in and day-out. 

Lastly, to the baseball team. I want to apologize for the games I’ve had to miss because of work, but I want to thank you for understanding the other responsibilities I try to blend in. You guys are lifelong friends to me, not just teammates or coaches. We’ve still got work to do, so let’s build some momentum an boost our confidence a bit and make a run at the conference tournament. 

My goal has been to leave a lasting impression in everything I do and with everyone I meet. I hope this goal has been achieved.