Enjoying the experience
by Matthew Ondesko, Owner/Publisher
Photos: Lindy Feider / Canisius Athletics
It’s never easy when something is finally coming to and - especially when you have been doing in for your entire life. But, at some point all good things must come to and end.
Aa an athlete, some careers are not very long. They may ned after four years of high school, or you may be lucky enough to play through college. Either way at some point an athlete needs to look at what is coming up next for them.
A post athletic career is just as important. In your mind you think you will play forever. Make it to the next level, but in reality that isn’t going top happen. That’s why school is important. Getting those grades, and making those contacts, while in college can help set you up for the future.
Canisius College baseball player Mike Steffan has come out hot during the first couple of weeks of the baseball season. He tore up University of Pittsburg pitching with three home runs and 10 RBI during the four game series.
“Coming into the weekend, no one expected us to come in there and win at all,” stated Steffan by phone, recently. “We just went in there with nothing to loose, and a lot of confidence, and we did what we could and came out with two wins. From my personal standout point, being able to contribute to those two wins was awesome.”
This is Steffan’s last go around wight Griffs. It has seemed like Steffan has been on the team forever, and because if the pandemic he has. The graduate student is entering his final year of college baseball - and he wants to make it the best yet.
While the bombs were great, for Steffan it’s about something bigger. It isn’t about the stats at the end of the season. It isn’t about the hot start he’s had to the season. It’s about being around the guys one last time.
Being around the boys as they get ready to go on this 50 plus game journey that will hopefully end with a MAC title and a trip to the NCAA tournament.
“To me it’s not about any sort of statistic,” said Steffan. “It’s not about hitting home runs, or having whatever kind of batting average. It’s about going out there and doing my best and having fun. It’s about enjoying one last ride with my teammates. Having the start that I did meant a lot to me just from the standpoint that I’ve worked so hard over the last five years.”
As he goes through his final year of competitive baseball, Steffan is completely focused on helping his team win. He will admit that’s tough at times because he just wants to sit back and enjoy every moment with his teammates.
He wants to be able to soak in the final year of putting on the school colors of Canisius College. But, he knows when the season is completely finished, that he will be able to look back at the last five years and see everything that he has accomplished both on and off the field.
That time just isn’t right now.
“It’s kind of hard because par tot me just wants to sit back and enjoy it, and kind of take it for what it is,” stated Steffan. “At the same time, I want to go out there. I want to do my best, and win every day. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to do my best, too. What I have realized over the years is that anyway you can contribute is that you have to just be good at your job.”
It has been a hell of a journey for Steffan. From staring at Williamsville East to being a wide-eyed freshman on the Canisius College campus five years ago, the memories he has made have been amazing.
He took his ups and downs as a baseball player in stride. He found his niche has his years went on, and had become the leader on and off the field.
“When I first walked on campus it was kind of nerve-wracking,” stated Steffan. “Kind of what I realized over the years is that it’s all a learning experience, and you get out what you put in. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come to Canisius, and learn everything that I was able to learn - and become the person I have become.”
As Steffan gets ready to cross the plate for the last time in his college career, the young man Williamsville already has the next steps of his journey planned out.
For the first time in his life, Steffan will pack up all his belonging and move across the country to Seattle where he will be taking a job with Microsoft. It’s a big step leaving all his family at home, but one he is ready to make.
Making this move allows him to find himself a little more. Grow up a little more. He can easily find something in Western New York, and stay in his comfortable zone. But, Steffan, wants to get out of his comfort zone. He wants to see what’s outside of Wester New York.
“When the season is over, I am moving all the way across the country to live in Seattle and work for Microsoft,” stated Steffan. “It’s going to be a big change in scenery for me after living in Buffalo for 23 years. I’m a lot more excited than nervous (to be moving). I’m just looking for a new experience. For now, I just want to explore, and kind of travel. I want to learn a little bit more about myself. I am really excited to get out there and have that whole new experience.”