Photo courtesy of Danny Karnik

Jonathan King is a fifth-year IE in the supply chain concentration and also a lefthanded pitcher of the baseball team. King, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., pitched the most innings in the 2015 season but sat out most of Spring 2016 with an injury. Confident that he will be back in action in February, King sat down with the Technique to discuss school-baseball-life balance and his future.

Technique: How do you balance practice, games and school?

King: It’s definitely an adjustment. There’s definitely an adjustment period, especially for freshmen coming in. I remember freshman year, just how difficult it was to get adjusted. Luckily we’ve got a lot of resources in the athletic department and within the team to guide you and help you out with that, if you just find the time to do it.

One thing that has really helped a lot of guys is being very, very attentive wherever you are, especially in the classroom. The more that you learn in class, the less you have to do extra. That’s one thing we’re not blessed with is a lot of extra time, so we find the hours in the day. It definitely keeps us busy.

Technique: You’re a redshirt, so do you think that helped you that first year, getting acclimated to Tech? Or do you think it hurt you not being able to play baseball?

King: I actually did not redshirt my first year. I played my first year, and in my second year, I had a medical redshirt — that’s where the redshirt came from. It was about the same. The only real difference to me that year was I didn’t travel during the spring because I played the first few games of the season and then was injured and got the redshirt. So the only real difference was that I didn’t travel on the weekends. Other than that, I was still at practice every day. At that point, I had a bunch of doctor visits. So it was about the same with the time management.

Technique: You’re graduating in May, so you’ve started with capstone. How is that going for you, in a big team with group meetings and all?

King: I’m actually in the second phase of capstone. The way that we’re doing it is I’m doing my capstone course this fall, and next spring I’ll only have one course to take. The reason for that is you have to take at least 12 hours every semester unless its your graduating semester. So next semester, I’ll have one three-hour course, and I’ll be done. I’m looking forward to it. But it’s definitely interesting — that first few weeks with the team is always a difficult transition, getting to know everybody, seeing what makes each person tick, that kind of stuff.

Playing on a team my entire life has definitely helped with that, definitely helped with being able to understand different types of people, being able to work with people you don’t necessarily click with or don’t necessarily know as well or think the same way as. It’s interesting, and there’s definitely a transition period with it. But definitely playing a team sport helps with that. It’s going well though. We’re almost done, progressing. So we’re getting there.

Technique: Ok so, the Total Person Program, do you work for them, like under Leah Thomas?

King: I work under Leah as a Nutrition Center monitor, so — that’s exactly it. I work in the Nutrition Center a couple hours a week. Those are typically the people Leah goes to talk to about the Total Person speakers and to ask our opinion, get our feedback on what our players thought about this speaker or what we think about the Total Person Program in general.

Technique: What do you think about it? How has it helped you?

King: I think it’s great. We’ve had incredible speakers come in: we just had Kyle Maynard recently, and we had Inky Johnson last year come in and speak to us, and those were both outstanding speakers. It provides you with knowledge that is necessary, especially in college. For some of the people that went to one of the most recent ones, they had a financial planning Total Person speaker. They’ve had a sexual violence speaker, especially with the issues that have come up in pro sports right now. That’s very important for student athletes to understand, the consequences of that and how to prevent that.

Basically, the point of it is to make sure when we leave the Institute, we’re well-rounded. We’re not just an athlete because that’s important. As much as we want to, we can’t play this game forever. We can’t play baseball forever; we can’t play football forever. But it’s more than just building an athlete, the program is building better people.

Technique: What are your plans for the future, and has this helped you in deciding?

King: The biggest thing that it’s helped me with is it’s made me really think what I want to do. It’s really forced me to think what do I want my life to look like. It’s easy once you get your degree to try to get a job in that field, and the more I’ve assessed myself and thought about what I want to do, I think I eventually want to move into coaching, and that’s just following a dream that I have. I love this game so much, and I don’t want it to be over. I want to be a part of it, and I feel like I have a passion to teach to younger people and to help them understand this game, to play it and enjoy it as much as I have.

I think that the Total Person Program and some of the speakers that have come and spoken to us have really taught me and helped me to understand that it’s almost wrong for me to not pursue something that I feel like I should do. That’s one big thing I’ve gotten out of it.

Technique: Some non-athletes feel like student-athletes are limited because of their schedules. Would you say you’re experiencing what Tech has to offer?

King: Absolutely. This is what we signed up for, getting to be part of our team and representing our Institute on the field, on the court, is what we get to do. It’s one of our privileges. That’s why we came here; that helps us go through school. For a lot of people, that’s what helps them get into school. That’s the way it is. Sure, maybe we don’t get to go to everything, but that’s the tradeoff. That’s what we give up to be a part of something like this.

I’m sure if you ask 99 percent of the student-athletes here — probably 100 percent of the student-athletes here — they would have no regrets on that. The experiences that we get are unmatchable. It’s incredible how much we get to actually do by being a student-athlete and by being at this place.

I’m perfectly happy and content with where I am, and I have zero complaints about this place. It’s done nothing but bring good to me. Hopefully I and we bring some good back to it.