The biggest difference between professional and college athletes is one plays as a career while the other plays for a school. For one Texas State baseball player, being a student is his favorite part.
Joe Powell, senior right-handed pitcher, started playing baseball at the age of three and stuck with it throughout his life.
While this is Powell’s fourth year at Texas State, he is classified as a fifth year senior after transferring from Saint Louis University between his freshman and sophomore year.
Baseball was always a sport Powell enjoyed playing and watching.
Raised in Dallas, Powell grew to love the Texas Rangers by watching them on TV and attending games.
Although Powell is a transfer student, his vision for striving in school has remained the same.
Being an accountable student is important to Powell, and to focus on doing well academically is one of his top priorities.
Powell majors in both applied mathematics and engineering technology, and while he thoroughly enjoys mathematics, it has not always been easy.
“Although I love it, it has certainly had its challenges,” Powell said. “I’ve had times when I’ve been like ‘why did I do this to myself,’ but I think it’s that I love challenges and I love trying to push myself to my limits.”
The challenge of being a student and an athlete at the same time is something Powell is very familiar with.
“It’s really tough balancing school and baseball at the same time,” Powell said. “I’m a very serious student, and sometimes it’s really tough to try and fit all the studying in and making sure you’re getting to classes while having to get out here for practice and be a part of the team.”
However, while Powell likes learning as a student, he has also learned from playing on the field.
“I don’t know what I would fill my time with if I didn’t play baseball every single day,” Powell said. “It’s what motivates me to get up in the morning; it’s what motivates me to not just compete on the field, but it also gives me the desire to compete in every aspect of my life, including the classroom.”
Powell knows he can succeed in this balancing act because of his sister, Shay.
Shay Powell was also a college athlete while she attended The University of Nebraska playing soccer.
“I had such a good role model in my sister,” Powell said. “She did it pretty seamlessly and was a great student as well. I’m lucky I had a great role model to base myself off of.”
One of the ways Powell helps himself in baseball and in the classroom is by staying consistent.
“I schedule it out: I’m in bed at the same time every night and I get up at the same time every morning,” Powell said. “You’ve got to get a routine or else this kind of schedule—playing 56 games a year—is going to wear on you. I’ve really stuck to a routine and it’s worked wonders for me.”
Powell enjoys baseball, engineering and mathematics equally.
“Baseball is honestly a passion and a hobby,” Powell said. “I don’t see myself as a baseball player; I see myself as a student who loves to play this game.”
Powell thinks of the future often because this is his last season as a Bobcat.
Although playing at the professional level is not something he has considered often, Powell has shown interest in a different path: serving our country.
Powell is named after his grandfather, who once had a career in the Air Force.
“I know that I would love to entertain the possibility of having at least some experience in the military in my early twenties,” Powell said. “I’d like to get out and travel and I’d like to serve. I’d like to learn a few more lessons.”
Powell has tried to prepare himself for either path—the military or the start of a career—by thinking ahead.
For a year and a half, Powell worked in the engineering building as an assistant lab technician, a lab teacher’s assistant and an undergraduate researcher. These hands-on experiences have added to his learning and resume.
However, the future has not yet arrived for Powell, and he is currently very content with living in the present.
“I’ve put a lot of work into the classroom so I’m definitely hoping that pays off in the future,” Powell said. “But right now, getting to play college baseball at Texas State in front of a great crowd on this beautiful field—I couldn’t ask for anything more. Right now I’m living the dream.”
When Powell gets overwhelmed with school and baseball life, he tries to remember a simple quote.
“The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten regarding having to balance the crazy academic schedule as well as the rigorous athletic schedule at the same time came from my dad,” Powell said. “When we moved my sister into her freshman dorm at The University of Nebraska, he looked at my sister and said, ‘Shay, remember, you make your memories on the field, but you make your future in the classroom.’ Right when he said that, it just struck a chord with me.”
After this school year is over, whether he truly made memories on the field or built his future in the classroom, Powell will be able to look back appreciate his dedication as an athlete, a student and forever, a Bobcat.