April 11, 2014
WASHINGTON - Coming into his senior season, first baseman Steve Anderson knew that he needed to make some changes in order to grow as both a player and a person before his time at Georgetown was up.
On the field, Anderson would have more leadership responsibilities as a tri-captain. In this new role his initial plan was to lead by example and to make sure everybody was having fun, including himself.
"For me this year has been a little different with being a captain and a leader of the team but personally I just wanted to go out, and it's my senior year, and have as much fun as possible," Anderson explained.
Although he received regular playing time as a freshman - and then subsequently became a starter the majority of Hoya games over the next two seasons - there were personal goals that Anderson was missing out on.
With his new philosophy, Anderson got off on the right foot straight from opening day. Less than 10 days into the season the 6-foot-5 infielder earned himself a spot on the BIG EAST Honor Roll. A month later he was named BIG EAST Player of the Week
"I think that in years past I've gotten bogged down with trying to hit .300 and having all these numbers in my head. So for me it's just all about having fun and enjoying it because it could be the last time I ever play baseball competitively."
As for that elusive .300 benchmark he set for himself, Anderson - who came into the season as a career .264 hitter - has a .321 average through Georgetown's first 28 games as well as leading the team in a number of categories.
"You have to enjoy when you go out there because when you press and take things so seriously you make it harder on yourself - you have to have perspective."
For all of the on field success Anderson has enjoyed this season, his true maturation has taken place off the field. Anderson, who lost his mother to multiple myeloma cancer when he was just eight years old, recently led his team in fundraising efforts through the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a childhood cancer charity that funds research to help kids diagnosed with cancer. The Foundation, which raises money primarily through head-shaving events, was a natural choice for Anderson since his mother was a nurse who lived to help children.
Although officially Anderson and his teammates didn't begin raising money until February, the idea to honor his later mother through the St. Baldricks's Foundation began two summers ago while he played in the New England Collegiate Baseball League for a team in Newport, R.I.
He saw how much the community supported the event and it really moved him. Although he learned a lot about the foundation as his team raised more than $15,000 that summer, he also knew that he wanted to do things a little bit different while at Georgetown.
"Their media team and their organization did most of the work so I wanted to do something where the players were in charge - more grassroots- and I thought that made our event at Georgetown a little different. I really wanted it to be player driven."
So while on Christmas break Anderson sent an email to the foundation expressing his interest to put on a fundraiser with the rest of his Georgetown teammates. Having worked with other college teams in the past, St. Baldrick's immediately got in touch with Anderson and put him in touch with an event coach and mentor who walked him through everything he needed to do in order to put on the fundraiser.
"They got back to me and were really excited and wanted to talk to me about it. They have a very organized structure so I was very grateful for them in how much they helped."
A little more than a month later at the Hoyas First Pitch Dinner in February, the fundraising began and Anderson pledged to neither shave nor cut their hair until after the Hoyas April 5 game at Shirley Povich Field.
In those two months the Hoyas raised more than $46,000 - making them the second highest fundraising collegiate baseball team in the 14- year event.
"I think the event really culminated what she was all about," a clean shaven Anderson said after the event.
"The guys really took ownership of this event and they were really the reason we got such an amazing number - something I couldn't even imagine when we started. The guys really got after it."
On the big day, Georgetown honored four local kids who are battling cancer to come and throw out ceremonial first pitches as well as be present for the mass head shavings. Anderson, who admitted that he was starting to look scary, really began to realize what the event was all about when he got a chance to spend some time with the kids. He was blown away by their strength and courage to take on such a serious condition at a young age. For him and his teammates, it made the event a total success. It also helped him come to grips with something he's been battling most of his life.
"It's been a great ride for me," Anderson said of the past four months of fundraising.
"Dealing with my mom's passing is something I've struggled with in the past growing up. It's been kind of tough for me to talk about and something that I've pushed away from most of my life. It took me until this year to come to terms with what happened and I think this whole experience really helped me get through a lot of stuff that I've been dealing with."