Everyday Champion: Joey Lakowske
First, Lakowske was already very familiar with the OSU athletic department. His mother, Risë Lakowske, has been the school’s women’s golf coach for over two decades.
Second, Lakowske had already won a world championship in a sport other than his collegiate pursuit. Lakowske came to OSU having earned a 14-and-under world title in racquetball while a student at
Third, Lakowske came to
Lakowske spent the spring of 2006 redshirting as the Beavers won the baseball national championship and a second straight Pacific-10 championship. This year, he’s been part of OSU’s traveling squad early in the season and has seen playing time as
OSU's Kip Carlson had a chance to sit down with Lakowske recently as he is this week's Everyday Champion, in partnership with Target.
QUESTION: What is the OSU Futures Forum?
LAKOWSKE: The program started last year; I was part of the first class to be a part of it. They selected us based on our high school GPAs, basically. It was a group put together to focus on your future outside of sports, whether it be graduate school or what type of career you are working towards. And also what type of degree you’re going to get while you’re in school. It just kind of provides insight and information in those areas.
Q: What type of activities does it involve?
L: Mostly, we listened to speakers and get an array of paths that people have taken to get where they are.
Q: What have you gotten out of being involved with the program?
A: Mainly the lessons from what people have done that I’ve really enjoyed hearing about and have a lot of respect for, and just kind of thinking about why they made the decisions they made not necessarily what decisions they made, but why they made them and why that was valuable.
Q: Before getting into college baseball, you’d already made another name for yourself in another sport by winning a world championship in racquetball. Talk about your involvement in that sport.
A: I got started in first or second grade with my mom showing me how to play down at Timberhill Athletic Club. At the time it was just fun I get to hit the ball as hard as I can against the wall and run around, do the things little kids like to do. I started playing in the instructional leagues at Timberhill that Rob Durbin taught; he became my coach early on. I was in those leagues for a while, and a year or two after I started, I played in regionals. That was the first tournament I ever played in, and I got third; that was after I’d been playing in leagues for a while. I thought, “Okay, I can compete in this,” and I just kind of took it from there and went with it.”
Q: What’s tougher to hit well a baseball or a racquetball?
A: Definitely a baseball. You’ve got a flat object (the racquet) in racquetball, and it’s a little wider (than a baseball bat).
Q: With your mom being the women’s golf coach at Oregon State, you’re a lot more familiar with the athletic department than most Beaver student-athletes. Does it give you a different view of the athletic department than most student-athletes may have?
A: It gives me a different perspective in that I know the personnel in the department on a more personal basis - they’ve been my mom’s friends, or my mom’s bosses so there are relationships there. It’s easier for me to go talk to people sometimes and go get information than it is for someone who doesn’t know who to talk to that usually works to my benefit as far as working out internships or anything like that. I know who to talk to. As an athlete competing, it’s not really any different. You don’t get treated differently on the team, you still have to go out and compete with the same people for the same jobs, so that doesn’t really change.
Q: You don’t have to mind your Ps and Qs a little more “Hey, Joey, shape up or I’m going to tell your mom”?
A: I think there’s definitely a separation between family and faculty. Mom doesn’t involve herself in things she shouldn’t. And my parents have always done a really good job of not involving themselves with my coaches and my sport they stay away; that’s my issue. If I have a problem, I need to talk to the coaches or whatnot.
Q: Your mom having been in that coaching role probably has contributed to that.
A: She’s not very fond of the parents that want to coach, so she understands.
Q: You list building things as a hobby what sort of things does that include?
A: It’s included a fair number of things. I wanted to study Engineering here, but I didn’t do that because baseball plus Engineering probably wasn’t going to be a schedule that would work out too well for me, so I went into Business. But I’ve always had the engineering in mind I like to know how things work, why they work, if I can make something work better, or whatnot. The end of my senior year of high school, I bought a 1971 Ford Bronco. It wasn’t in the best shape; today, I’m probably over 500 hours of my own into the project with a ton more hours from other people. It’s taken me over a year and a half at this point, and we’re about to get the paint job going here real soon. It’s been a while. Most of the car isn’t original; the only things I’m using from the old car are the body and the frame. Its new suspension, new engine everything on the car is completely new. I kind of dove in not even knowing how to change my oil, I just started reading and figuring out how to do it and took off with it and put in a lot of time. It’s been an incredible learning experience as far as putting the whole thing together, but it’s been a lot of fun, too.
Q: What goals do you have for the future?
A: A lot of things would be fun. It would be fun to try playing professional baseball if I got the chance. If I don’t get the chance, I’m going to go out and try to work in a job I can deal with for a while. I was involved with the Austin Entrepreneurship Program last year a little bit, and that’s always been an interest of mine because there’s a little more to the engineering side of things to own your own business. Getting to run my own business, that would be a personal goal.