One of the ACC’s top pitchers and the ace of the Wolfpack, will spend Monday afternoon helping 20 local children with disabilities experience the joys of playing softball. But unlike other matchups to be played across the conference that day, everyone on NC State’s Dail Stadium diamond will truly leave the game a winner.
“As I finish up my athletic career, I realize more and more how blessed I have been, and I want to help people have similar experiences,” said Lindsay Campana, who currently ranks second in the ACC with a 1.00 ERA, and fourth with 215 strikeouts in 168.2 innings pitched. “I’ve worked with children with disabilities as long as I can remember – especially when I go back home – so this type of project was something I was interested in immediately.”
Campana, a senior applied psychology major and the Wolfpack’s ace for the past three seasons, designed “At Bat With the Pack,” an adapted softball game for clients of Raleigh-based Maxim Healthcare, where she has interned this year. The company provides a variety of medical services to its clients, including in-home care to children with developmental disabilities and delays, as well as physical and mental disabilities.
“Lindsey is one-of-a-kind,” said Jean Geratz, Campana’s supervisor at Maxim. “I think Lindsay feels that she’s led a very blessed life, and she truly wants to give something back and help make the world a more inclusive place for everybody.”
Monday’s game will consist of two innings, with each team batting every player in every inning and the last batter hitting a home run. All participants will hit, score and win. All participants will also have a “buddy” to assist in their participation and safety.
In addition to her efforts in the classroom (where she was recently named NC State’s Applied Psychology student of the year) and on the diamond, Campana must complete 225 hours of one-on-one service to Maxim clients – Monday’s event notwithstanding.
The project also includes a research component, one in which Campana explores the correlation between team sports and high self-esteem.
“This project has added so much to my college career and experience,” said Campana, who transferred to NC State in 2006 after a single season at Cuesta College. “I feel very well-rounded; that athletics is not my only area of interest.
“The experience that I received from the internship as well as planning this project will be very beneficial to me in the workplace.”
Campana credits Geratz, her advisor, Dr. Pamela Martin, and Phil Moses, executive director of NC State’s Academic Support Program for Student Athletes, in helping her cover every detail in preparation for Monday’s event – time invested that should pay huge dividends in the lives of those around her.
“Being an athlete, my schedule is packed,” she said. “I’ve always made time to give back to my community, whether it be here in Raleigh or helping coach a youth softball team when I go home for summer.
“I remember when I was younger, there were girls who were older than me that would come help at practices and games, and I always looked up to them,” she said. “I want to do the same types of things, now that I’m in a similar position.”
That passion, NC State head coach Lisa Navas said, played a key role in her recruitment of Campana to play for the ‘Pack.
“We’re in a sport where there is a professional league, but very few players get to it,” Navas said. “I’ve always looked at my job as to enrich their lives in other areas.
“By playing a sport, we become a family, and are able to give back to the community, and spend time with those less fortunate than they are,” she said. “We want our players to realize that they have the ability to make the world a better place and that they can help by doing things like this – things that make a difference in the lives we touch.”
Campana needed only to look down the bench in recruiting a number of “buddies,” teammates and coaches who will be joined on the field by student-athletes from other NC State teams and members of NC State’s Student-Athletes Advisory Committee – something that comes as no surprise to Geratz and other Maxim staff members.
“We’ve always had good relationships with NC State students in general [through the APP],” Geratz said, “but it just shows that, when given an opportunity or an experience that they’d never had before, NC State students are more than willing to take that leap, which is pretty important, because I think that these types of experiences will change the rest of their lives.”
Monday’s game will begin at 5:30 p.m. at NC State’s Curtis & Jacqueline Dail Softball Stadium. Admission is free, and open to the general public. A silent auction will be held as well, with proceeds earmarked to boost awareness of the local developmentally disabled population.
“I hope the children who are participating in this game will have an opportunity to make new friends, socialize with their peers, and build positive self-esteem,” Campana said. “But most importantly, I want to give everyone who participates – both players and fans alike – a positive memory and experience that they’ll always keep with them.”
Editor’s Note: Photos by Karl DeBlaker, Athletics Media Relations.