From practicing good nutritional habits to preparing for the professional world, the benefits of being a varsity athlete are endless. However, most athletes require an incredible amount of motivation to successfully balance out school and athletics for four years. After that, many athletes will continue on with their educational endeavours and the sport merely becomes a part-time hobby.

But other students hold on to their goodbyes for a little bit longer.

Adam Paish, a graduate student at Western, has been a varsity athlete on the baseball team since 2008. He wrapped up his eighth and final season earlier this year after making the decision to retire. The Mississauga native has been stationed in London for not only his studies, but for his love for baseball.

Here’s an inside scoop.

What keeps you going?

For those who know what it’s like to be on a great team, works hard to be great and has a lot on fun doing what they love to do, it’s worth every bit of effort you put in…. It would have been easy, and some would say smart, to have stopped playing, especially after starting grad school. The time commitments only make things more difficult to manage as you get older and take on more responsibilities.

Accomplishments?

I received a lot of satisfaction from giving back through my efforts in helping to start the Mustangs Athlete Student Council (MASC). It was a passion of mine to help expand the varsity experience for students from just belonging to their respective teams to becoming a part of the larger Mustang athlete and alumni communities as well.

Career highlights:

  • team captain from 2010-2015
  • two-time OUA Champion (2009 and 2015)
  • four all-star game appearances, from 2010-2013
  • four national championship medals from Baseball Canada: a U-21 silver medal in 2009 representing Ontario, two senior bronze medals in 2013 and 2014 representing Mississauga and a coaching bronze medal in 2015

Awards:

  • Only player to ever win two OUA Pitcher of the Year awards, one in 2010 and one in 2012 
  • Only Mustang baseball player to ever win the Western Purple Blanket Award (2013), given to student-athletes that are judged to have made an outstanding contribution to Western athletics
  • Mustang Athlete Student Council founding president in 2013

What’s next?

Paish decided to end his career on a high note earlier this year after sharing the 2015 OUA title with his teammates. He hopes to pass on his experience to younger athletes by coaching as an assistant on the Western Baseball team in the upcoming seasons

Other long-serving Mustangs

Similar to Paish, many Western athletes have overstayed their traditional four-year visit. The following athletes have held on to their sports for over six years:

  • Chantal Forristal, medicine student, has been playing varsity level tennis for nine years. The academic all-star was the Most Valuable Player in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. The highlight of her career was winning the OUA championship in her seventh year on the team because all her senior teammates were graduating.
  • Charles Fitzsimmons, graduate studies student, has been playing varsity level golf for 10 years. On top of leading as team captain, Fitzsimmons impressed his teammates by finishing in 10th place at the Canadian University/College championship in 2015.
  • Tashlin Reddy, science student, has been playing varsity level squash for seven years. The men’s squash team recently won their 33rd consecutive OUA Championship earlier this month.
  • Holly Delavigne, graduate studies student, has been playing varsity level squash for six years. She was the Most Valuable Player in 2014-2015.
  • Cameron Graham, graduate studies student, has been playing varsity level baseball for eight years.
  • Marc Addison, continuing educations student, has been playing varsity level baseball for six years.
  • Kurtis Pliniussen, Kings student, has been playing varsity level tennis for six years.