NOTE: This is part of a series on athletics.covenant.edu with feature stories written by the student-athletes about their time at Covenant. This series is in conjunction with NCAA Division III Week (April 3-9), an annual event to celebrate the accomplishments on and off the field of student-athletes in the NCAA's largest division.
By Luke Harvey
(Covenant '17; Baseball)
Despite my 150-pound frame as a senior in high school, I was thoroughly convinced that Division I baseball was my "little c" calling. I had talked to a couple of mid-major schools (nothing more than email conversations with the recruiting coordinator, but hey, it's a start, right?) and my mind was set on making a Division I roster. I had never seen a Division III baseball game in my life, and as far as I was concerned, Division III was where the scrubs were sent to clear roster spots for the real baseball players. High school baseball culture revolves around the question, "where's he going?" The thought of people pointing at me and saying that I was Division III bound felt about the same to me as flying out to the pitcher on a 2-0 count.
I think it's safe to say that I probably speak for some of Covenant's student-athletes when I say that during my college search, Covenant was the last place on my mind.
But I wouldn't call myself a jock. Professional baseball had never been my ultimate goal, and I knew that I wanted to study English in college, though at that point I wasn't sure why (I think I just liked the idea of reading and talking about ideas.) The romantic in me wanted a beautiful campus, and I also wanted to make sure that I ended up at a school where people loved their college.
Long story short, a family friend who hooped at Covenant, Nate Frierson (Covenant '15), told me about his school atop Lookout Mountain. I visited, obviously fell in love with the campus, was told by coaches that I could contribute to the baseball team quickly, and the rest is history.
Letting go of my Division I pride and letting myself become a Covenant Scot was the best thing that I could have done for myself. But I was in for a surprise.
I arrived on campus and was sure that I was the real deal. "I had a couple Division I's interested in me," I kept telling myself, along with every other freshman athlete ever, "I'll be a starter for sure." These hopes and dreams came crashing down at our first practice in the fall when I saw the current left fielder, David Lockwood, swing the bat. Let's just say that the guy could swing the stick. "Well, there's still center field and right field," I told myself, and then was introduced to Chris Rollins and Paul Phillips, ending those fantasies. "Maybe they'll DH Lockwood and put me in left," I thought, and before the words could even come out of my mouth, a 26-year old named Will Carlton decided to come back and finish his college career. Naturally, he was a left fielder. To be honest, though, I partially loved the fact that I sat the bench that year, as it showed me that Division III baseball could be the real deal. We won the conference that year and the clinching game against Averett will always be one of the highlights of my baseball career (as seen from the bench).
I found the field in the following years, but I can honestly say that that's not the reason I love Covenant. I've been blessed to play alongside some incredible teammates who love me on and off the field. I've played for some incredible coaches who have invested in me as a player and as a follower of Christ. I've learned from some amazing English professors who have showed me the beauty of words and the power of literature. I've learned through countless hours on the field, in the cages, and in the weight room with my teammates that you can take athletics as seriously as the next Division I guy and still devote yourself to rigorous academics.
I've been blessed to attend a school where my teammates, coaches, and professors care about me as a person before they care about me as a player or a student. Looking back on my college career, I can't think of a better place for me than Covenant College. I plan on teaching high school English and coaching baseball after graduation, and there's no doubt that I'll be trying to make all my Division I-obsessed players to at least consider a Division III athletic career at Covenant.