Our three-day visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame has been exhilarating on both a personal and professional level. I knew my son, Justin, and I were in for a great experience, but it’s been even better than imagined. As Diehard Cubs fans (are there any other kind?!), we are almost spiritually moved to be in the hallowed halls of the Hall just months after Ron Santo finally was enshrined, and a week after Ryne Sandberg was here working on a character development project. Yesterday we sat in the Giamatti Research Library looking through the Sandberg player file before watching his Induction Speech. It was a powerful Father-Son moment and a part of a venture we will look back on with amazement and fondness, particularly because we shared it with 14 of our newest favorite students.
All of Wabash would be proud of this group of young scholars and their professor. The freshmen have exemplified all of what we emphasize in a Wabash education: Gentlemanly behavior, critical thought and research skills, engagement with teachers in and out of the classroom, and great fellowship and camaraderie. From assisting other passengers with their luggage to thanking each and every Hall employee who has helped their research, these young men have “spread the fame of Her honoured name” with their kind and thoughtful approach to others. They have been sharp and articulate students of the Hall, impressing our hosts with their knowledge, quality questions, perception, and focus. Much of this, of course, is credit to their professor, Todd McDorman, who is a bit of a rock star here. We’ve all been struck by how many people know Todd from his work and presentations on Pete Rose. He has parlayed his passion for baseball and its impact on American culture into a terrific course, a quintessential liberal arts experience, Hall of Fame papers (literally) and a most impactful immersion trip for his students. And that impact is most obvious in the cohesive bond they’ve developed in the process. Men of different living units, backgrounds, campus co-curriculars, and, yes, baseball team allegiances have gotten along well, shared pizza, laughs, and family baseball stories, and forged friendships that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
Each student has, without provocation, asserted his great amazement and appreciation for this opportunity. They know this is a special visit to a most special place made possible by special people from another special place contributing to their educational opportunities. The best quote, of many, I’ll remember, is from Justin Green, a proud, Giants cap-wearing freshman from California’s Bay Area. “This is a place I would have always wanted to go to, but never would have. But because of Wabash, not only am I here, but I plan to bring my future family here, and, hopefully, retire to a lake house here someday”. In a place celebrating how dreams do, indeed, come true, Justin, like his classmates, has begun to dream even bigger dreams than he had when he arrived…and, due to the collapse of his professor’s favorite team, that includes a World Series championship for his Giants – if they can eliminate classmates Jerrel Taylor’s and Seth Gunderman’s Cardinals (the luckiest and mentally toughest franchise in the history of sports), and then, perhaps, classmate Brock Hammond’s Yankees.
On behalf of my grateful son, thank you to these young people, Professor McDorman, his student assistant Matt Page ’13, Dean Klein, and Mark Siegel for allowing us to share in this great experience. I am personally most appreciative of the way these Wabash men made my high school sophomore feel welcomed and part of the team. He was simply “one of the guys” and I am most impressed and thankful. I’m also certain of his #1 college choice right now and, of course, the freshman tutorial he would seek – that is, if the Cubs (or the soon-to-be Sandberg-led Phiillies) don’t sign him for big bucks first…?!
Go Cubs Go and, MUCH more obviously, Wabash Always Fights -