Family ties run deep at Point Park
By Angela Nelson, Sports Information Student Assistant
June 1, 2009
PITTSBURGH -- Nowadays, sports convey more than just physical competition. To most athletes, a team is a family. When considering Point Park’s baseball and softball teams, the athletes literally are family.
Point Park’s Jesse and Lindsey Pesanka and Dan and Julie Campbell create the brother-sister relations found on the baseball and softball teams. Ironically, the sibling duos began playing together prior to Point Park, as they are all graduates of Baldwin High School.
This past season, Jesse Pesanka finished up his junior year as a first baseman/outfielder on the Point Park baseball team while his younger sister, Lindsey, completed her sophomore year as the Pioneers’ shortstop. Dan Campbell, a catcher, will be a senior on the Pioneers’ baseball team next season while his sister, Julie, will be a sophomore utility player on the softball team next year.
Growing up, the Campbells were cultured with baseball. Their biggest influence is their father, who was a talented player years ago and shared his knowledge with his five kids. While it was difficult for them to practice together with five different schedules occurring, Dan and Julie’s father found opportunities to take all of his kids to the field to play catch.
For the Pesankas, baseball is also a family tradition. A number of relatives played the game, including their grandfather, who was drafted by the New York Yankees during World War II. Jesse and Lindsey began their careers at a young age with tee ball. The siblings played on the same team and Lindsey recalls mirroring everything her older brother did so she knew what to do. While they began playing on the same team, the boys eventually got too big for Lindsey and that resulted in her transition to softball.
With scheduling conflicts occurring frequently, the athletes’ parents find ways to support each of their children. For the Pesankas, one parent is always at a game. The Campbell’s parents deal with scheduling conflicts well and attend as many games as possible rotating between the two children. One opportunity for minimizing conflicts was during the teams’ annual spring training at Disney’s Wide World of Sports this past season.
“Both of my parents were able to come to Disney this year, so they got to see most of our games down there,” says Dan. “Once conference games started, it became a little tougher, and they would try to make it to as many games of each of ours as possible.”
“At one point growing up, all five kids played softball or baseball and needed rides to games, so they have been doing this sort of thing for a while,” says Dan. “This is actually easier now that just two of us play.”
While both sets of siblings are very supportive of each other, there is some competition involved to help boost the intensity of play. The Pesankas enjoy comparing stats and involve themselves in a home run competition.
“Every season we always see who had the best stats,” says Jesse. “This helps us play at a higher level.”
The Campbells do not have much competition between each other, but give each other a hard time every once in awhile.
“Occasionally we joke around saying ‘Well, I had more hits than you’ or ‘I would of made that play!’ but nothing too bad,” says Julie. “We are usually really supportive of each other and are always asking how each other’s games went and how the other did.”
The decision to come to Point Park is the same for the four Baldwin athletes: athletics, academics, and location. Having the opportunity to get an education and play the sports is very appealing to the Pesankas and the Campbells.
In addition to the academic and athletic mix, they all enjoy being close to home as Baldwin is minutes outside the city. While Jesse and Dan had no major influence on their sisters’ decisions to come to Point Park, both Lindsey and Julie enjoy having the support of their older brothers at school.
The Pesanka and Campbell siblings’ overall experience of attending the same college has been great so far. The Campbells don’t mind it and feel that they get along better now than when they were younger. The Pesankas also enjoy each other’s company.
“At first it was kind of weird, but now we are kind of growing up and use to each other,” says Lindsey. “I love having him around.”
Jesse Pesanka is majoring in education and Dan Campbell is a civil engineering technology major. Lindsey Pesanka and Julie Campbell are majoring in sports, arts and entertainment management.
Angela Nelson is a public relations/marketing major at Point Park, and she will be a junior in the fall. She is currently completing a practicum requirement in the Pioneers’ sports information office. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.