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Daniel Vanaman ’08

I’ve been playing baseball since I was eight years old and my fondest dream is to keep playing after I graduate this spring. My chances would have been greater if I had accepted one of my offers to play at a Division I school, but I came to Rhodes for three big reasons—academics, the people and a chance to help a struggling team. I knew I would get to play as a freshman here and I did.

That first year we won 11 games. Last year it was 33, and this year, hopefully we’ll go all the way to Appleton, WI for the World Series. Having always been on the winning team as a kid, being a part of turning around the team here has been a fantastic experience. That’s one of the beautiful things about athletics—you get the right people together believing in the same goal and great things can happen. We’re proof of that.

The other great thing about Rhodes has been my classes. There have been some real standouts among subjects that you wouldn’t think would be fun—learning the Greek language and Russian literature, for example—but the professors brought them to life.

And that’s another thing. The faculty here is incredible. Surprisingly, some of my closest friends are my professors, and the opportunity to get to know them and their families has been amazing. I keep thinking how cool it is that faculty members want to be part of a student’s life.

So—what comes next? Maybe I’ll get picked to play professional baseball. Stranger things have happened. Mets standout pitcher Billy Wagner came from a D3 school. If not, I’ll get a job. Career Services says I should go into sales and that sounds like fun. Afterward, I hope to go to graduate school for religious studies. Then maybe I could come back and teach at Rhodes.

Whatever happens, I want to stay involved with this college, whether as a volunteer assistant coach or a faculty member. I just know I can’t leave. Rhodes has been too good to me.

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