Courtesy Senior catcher Peter Shepherd has forged new ground at Manchester, as the Warsaw graduate spent six months abroad in Marburg, Germany, assisting with a German language program.
Monday, May 07, 2018 1:00 am
Business is good for Spartans' catcher
Spent time in Germany to work on language program
Josh Patterson | For The Journal Gazette
As a senior catcher on the Manchester baseball team, Peter Shepherd immerses himself in whatever it takes to improve the team – fostering friendships among teammates, catching post-practice bullpen sessions with a freshman-laden pitching staff or throwing extra ground balls to the infielders.
That entrepreneurial spirit, the embodiment of a college student studying sales, has also helped Shepherd forge new ground at Manchester as he assisted in crafting a German language program that afforded the Warsaw graduate the opportunity to learn about his heritage during a six-month study abroad unit in Marburg, Germany.
The trip, according to Shepherd, was the culmination of a dream, albeit one previously unknown.
“If I had told you a year ago this would have happened, that I would have gone overseas and studied for six months, if I told my freshman-year self all this, I would have laughed,” Shepherd said.
And while Marburg helped mark the final year of Shepherd's college experience, his time abroad affirmed his ultimate goal of a career in international business. The ability to connect with the land of his ancestors ignited a new passion for him..
“Connecting with my heritage and connecting with that part of me was vital, and it continues to drive me to get back to Europe and speak the language,” Shepherd said. “I wanted to study German for so long and wanted to be in Europe for so long, (and because of) my passion for everything that incorporates, I think I soaked up a lot of the learning pretty quickly.”
As part of Manchester's “Values, Ideas and the Arts” program, Shepherd delivered a 60-minute speech last month as one of the program's Senior Series participants. Students earn academic credit at the university by attending these events, where speakers and performers from across campus and across the globe deliver their messages.
Shepherd's passion project tied together his two academic focus, his professional sales major and his German minor. Catching for the Spartans helps him pursue a different passion – his love of America's pastime.
While Shepherd recounted several activities in which he participates – Business Club, in which he previously served as Vice President, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, German lab assistant and men's Bible study to name a few – his time playing baseball stands out as perhaps the most integral extracurricular. At minimum, it's the chance to combine his success in the classroom, both at Manchester and in Marburg, to shine at fulfilling both aspects of the term student-athlete.
“To play a spot that I love to play, to have the friendships I've built, it's been an absolutely vital piece of my college experience,” Shepherd said. “If I didn't play, I don't know what I would do with my time. The competitive aspect of baseball, the toughness, the mental things are absolutely vital.”
And with his senior season reaching its twilight, his final few chances to take his swings or throw out would-be base stealers, Shepherd relishes the fleeting opportunity to finalize how his time playing at Manchester gets remembered.
“I hope that my legacy first is as a teammate and as a friend, but also a competitor, someone who wanted to win and somebody who did whatever I needed to do to help the team win,” Shepherd said.