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For the Love of the Game

Softball player takes the road less traveled as a college athlete

by Published: Sep 25, 2013

Ferris junior softball player Jordan Maxwell stands alone as one of the few college athletes to try out and make the team without any scholarship incentive. Maxwell and the Bulldogs prepare for their spring season.  Photo By: Tori Thomas | Photo

Ferris junior soft­ball player Jordan Maxwell stands alone as one of the few col­lege ath­letes to try out and make the team with­out any schol­ar­ship incen­tive. Maxwell and the Bulldogs pre­pare for their spring sea­son. Photo By: Tori Thomas | Photo

There are two types of col­lege ath­letes: ones that are given schol­ar­ships and ones that are not.

Walk-ons are col­lege ath­letes who did not ini­tially receive a schol­ar­ship for a myr­iad of rea­sons but tried out and made the team.

Jordan Maxwell, a junior out­fielder from Prescott, was one of the few col­lege ath­letes who made it as a walk-on. Maxwell tried out for the Bulldog var­sity soft­ball team her fresh­man year and has since become an inte­gral part of the team since.

Maxwell grew up in a small, family-orientated town where she played many dif­fer­ent sports, includ­ing vol­ley­ball and bas­ket­ball. She even­tu­ally decided to go to Ferris, not only for their nurs­ing pro­gram but for a chance to become a col­lege athlete.

“Coming from a small town, it is very dif­fi­cult to get recruited,” Maxwell said. “I was excited and ner­vous about try­ing out, but it was always my dream to play col­lege softball.”

Just because a stu­dent ath­lete starts as a walk-on does not mean they will never be able to receive a schol­ar­ship in the future.

“I worked hard to bet­ter my skills, started con­tribut­ing in games, and I think my coach thought I deserved to be granted a schol­ar­ship,” Maxwell said.

Most stu­dent ath­letes who walk onto a team are try­ing out because of their pas­sion for the sport and many would play every sin­gle year, even if they were never able to earn a scholarship.

After mak­ing the team her fresh­man year, Maxwell was told she would not be receiv­ing a schol­ar­ship. However, she was told that there was an oppor­tu­nity for her to earn one in the future.

The sum­mer before her junior year, her hard work paid off, and Maxwell joined the elite ranks of schol­ar­ship athletes.

Her ded­i­ca­tion was evi­dent to her coach and teammates.

“Jordan [Maxwell] is a per­son that never gives up,” Ferris senior pitcher Amy Dunleavy said. “She comes into every prac­tice and leaves a bet­ter player. It would be hard to find some­one who works harder than she does.”

Money isn’t every­thing though. Maxwell said her first two sea­sons as non-scholarship ath­lete were reward­ing for dif­fer­ent reasons.

“I gained a great group of friends and got to travel to Florida and other neat places, all while play­ing the sport I love,” Maxwell said.

If Maxwell would not have made the team her fresh­man year, she would have tried out for the club vol­ley­ball team and maybe tried to get a part time job while work­ing toward her Spanish minor and wait­ing to be accepted into the nurs­ing program.

Even though the sea­son is still months away, Maxwell and the rest of the soft­ball team will be work­ing hard to pre­pare them­selves to com­pete in the GLIAC and make it past their result of last seaon, where they lost in the NCAA Midwest Regional.

“To any­one that wants to try­out for a col­lege sport, be pre­pared for every­thing that gets thrown at you,” Maxwell said. “You must show the coach that you have a good atti­tude and are very coach­able. Take advan­tage of the chance you have.” ///