By Hannah Mwaura
After hearing about the University of Findlay by chance while playing high school baseball, Ryan Johnson’s athletic and career path began to unfold. Now a senior Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability (EHSS) major on UF’s baseball team, he is thankful for the UF family he has in the team and is excited about his future in the EHSS field.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Johnson attended Cuthbertson High School in Waxhaw, North Carolina. While at a baseball tournament in Georgia, he met a coach from Ohio who offered to help him find a college team. After sending the coach some film of himself playing, Johnson heard back from a coach at UF. The next week Johnson flew to Findlay, attended a workout with the team, and toured campus.
“A big part of why I fell in love with UF is because of the southern comfort atmosphere,” Johnson said. “When I toured campus, there were a great amount of people who greeted me and made me feel as if I was at home. Coming from North Carolina and not being close to any family, there was a sense of peace that came about when touring Findlay.”
The feeling of home has only grown stronger throughout his time at UF, especially during his time with the team. Johnson says he would have felt lost without the team, calling them family. “Baseball can be a grind of a sport with its peaks and valleys,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the team, it would be extremely hard to show up every day and compete. It really makes it worthwhile to give all your effort to the sport when you are playing, not just for yourself, but for the brothers that put on the same uniform as you.”
A TOUGH PILL TO SWALLOW
COVID-19 put the team’s supportive family mentality to the test, when the season was cancelled last spring. The hardest part for Johnson was not getting to play with his senior “brothers” one last time. “It was a very tough pill to swallow,” he said. “The junior and senior classes from last year’s team might be the tightest knit classes Findlay has ever had. We still talk all the time to this day; it was almost like a shot in the heart hearing that I wouldn’t be able to put on the uniform with them.”
Going into the fall season, Johnson is pleasantly surprised with how things are going. For the first couple of weeks back, the team had to practice with only 10 or less athletes at one time. Then they slowly transitioned to a full team practice, where Johnson said the team is looking good for the spring. “Though I know there are uncertainties with the amount of games, who we will be able to play, and what the COVID-19 guidelines will look like at that point, I can say that our focus as a team right now is to just keep getting better and not worry about what we can’t control,” he said. “I believe we will have a spring season and am ready to get on the field with my teammates for one last go around.”