Eric Zimmerman: The Man Under the Lights

Eric Zimmerman’s University of Tampa transcript reads second-year Forensic Science Major. Eric Zimmerman’s reality entails much more. Once a freshman walk-on to the JV Baseball team, Zimmerman is approaching his second season of collegiate baseball as a member and captain of UT JV Baseball. He is also an active member of ROTC at the University for the second year. Juggling his academics, athletics, and ROTC, Eric makes a loaded schedule look like a walk in the park. His inolvement on campus goes far beyond that of the typical college sophomore.

Eric Zimmerman’s exhausting day is longer than the Sun’s and involves several different responsibilities. This essay is a documentation of what it means to be an involved student.

At 5:45am, everything is a blur as Zimmerman hurries past on the camera on his way to physical training for ROTC. The skyline of downtown Tampa looks down on him while he carries a 5 gal water jug to the Lacrosse Field, at Naimoli Family Athletic and Intramural Complex. Photo by: Mike Dygon

After rising before the Sun, Eric attends classes as a full-time student for much of the morning.

When asked what he thought of waking up so early, Eric replied saying

“I honestly don’t mind waking up for PT at 5:30am. It was hard to get used to last year, but I know what to expect and whats expected of me. So now I just get up and go”.
Eric practices most of his studying at Macdonald Kelce Library on campus. Here, he works on some of his Analytical Chemistry homework in the afternoon, before practice. Photo by: Mike Dygon

Usually, there is very little time between wrapping up his academics for the day and heading to practice. By the time players have finished stretching the sun has already begun to set on the University of Tampa Baseball Complex.

The lights were on, and Eric Zimmerman and the rest of the JV team, were there working to get better.

Zimmerman gets loose in the batting cage and listens to advice from a teammate prior to taking swings off the tee. Despite the relaxation icon of palm tress scattered across the backdrop, Zimmerman is focused on getting better. Photo by: Mike Dygon
Nearing exhaustion, Eric must focus on his form saying, “Cage swings are essential to a hitters mechanics. If something is going wrong, hitting off the tee is the way to fix it”. Photo by: Mike Dygon
Zimmerman (right), and teammate Trustin Riley (left), look on as their batting group takes swings during on-field batting practice. Photo by: Mike Dygon
Eric leads off of first base as his group practices a ‘hit and run’ situation from the runnners point of view. Photo by: Mike Dygon

After practice, Eric usually eats dinner on campus around 8:30pm. Time after is spent tying any loose ends up for the day such as studying for a test or hitting the gym again.

The next day, on a typical week involves Tactical Drills for ROTC in Plant Park. However, as Thanksgiving is approaching, the ROTC program held a ‘Turkey Bowl’- a lighthearted rugby match between members.

A few hours of fun every now and then is well deserved. Today that came in the form of the ‘ Turkey Bowl’ and for once, the lights were off.

A beacon of light shines down on Eric and other members of UTROTC at Naimoli complex on a sunny afternoon during the ‘Turkey bowl’. Photo by: Mike Dygon