My name is Jordy Allard and I am currently a rising junior on the Babson baseball team. Over the summer I had the opportunity to return to the Upper Valley Nighthawks and play collegiate baseball for a second summer. The Nighthawks are an organization in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, which college baseball players from all across the country travel to play in. My experiences playing for this team are drastically different than the other player's experiences, simply because the "UV" Nighthawks play at Maxfield Sports Complex in Hartford, Vermont, my old high school field.
Before I share my experiences, a background on Vermont may be needed. For instance, the population of my hometown is 811, not exactly the same feeling as being in the Boston area. The players coming in were not prepared for the atmosphere in Vermont. Being the hometown kid I took on the responsibility of helping the new players (from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, etc.) adapt to the slow-paced, Vermont way of life. As I made relationships and friendships with the 25 strangers I had just met, I learned valuable lessons needed after my career in baseball, such as learning how to work as a team with people whom I had just met and was not yet comfortable with.
Although getting a chance to play in the second-best collegiate summer baseball league in the country was an honor, the most rewarding part of being on the Nighthawks was giving back to the community. A small Vermont community that has helped me mature into the baseball player and person I am today. Without the tight-knit community I grew up in, I would not be where I am today. I got the chance to work at some Nighthawks kids camps, teaching kids from ages 5-12 how to play the game I love, not a horrible summer job if you ask me. Seeing how much fun these kids had playing and how much passion for the game they had inspired me to play harder and be a better role model for them. It reminded me how blessed I am to be playing in college, and that sometimes as college athletes we forget why we started playing and how lucky we are to still be playing a game that brings us so much joy.
As I got to see the next generation of Vermont baseball players show their talents, I also got to spend the summer talking with community members. We talked about experiences they have had, job opportunities and just about anything that came to mind. Babson has taught me that making connections is a huge part of life, in doing so this summer, I gained more knowledge and built stronger relationships with the people from my community back home. I was also lucky enough to hear stories from my teammates. They shared experiences, thoughts and ideas from all over the country, again broadening my knowledge and helping me make connections and network throughout the U.S.
Along with baseball, I also took a Babson summer class online in order to catch up on credits I was missing due to my transfer last year. I was enrolled in Latin American History. It just so happens that one of my teammates was born in Venezuela, and had lived there for his first few years of life. I was able to talk with him about Latin America, and the class helped give me a better understanding of where he was from and what it was like for him. Babson again, helping me connect with people around the world.
Overall, I had an amazing summer in Vermont, I believe that my experiences helped me become a better person, and there is no doubt in my mind that this past summer will help me be successful when it comes time to leave Babson. I cannot wait to get back on campus to start another great semester of class, and of course start the journey for another Babson Beavers trip to the World Series.