Bomber boosts portfolio with day job

Rachel Mummey/The Herald
In his second summer pitching for the Dubois County Bombers, Johnathan Williams has balanced his days between baseball and working at an internship with the Huntingburg Chamber of Commerce. The summer layover in Dubois County is winding to a close for Williams and the rest of the Bombers, who host Madisonsville at 7 tonight at League Stadium in a first-round Ohio Valley League playoff matchup.

Herald Sports Editor

The real world awaits in 10 months or so. Johnathan Williams isn’t cowering from it.

Those late nights. The early mornings. (And sometimes, a frightful fusion of the two.) All those new duties heaped onto your plate at work, plus a few last-minute add-ons to take care of that you didn’t expect. Williams is sampling all of it this summer, even though his day job isn’t his chief priority.

During his summer layover playing for the Dubois County Bombers, Williams is tackling extra work so that “right-handed pitcher” isn’t the only bullet point on his résumé. For the last two months, Williams has served an internship with the Huntingburg Chamber of Commerce, trading his cap and cleats during the night for khakis and a button-down during the day.

At times, the two realms bump into one another sooner than a bleary-eyed Williams would like — such as last Wednesday, when the team bus rolled into town in the middle of the night after a road game, Williams was up for work the next morning, then jetted to League Stadium for a game that night and finished a brief postgame bullpen session just past 11 p.m.

“We just got back from Fulton at 3 (in the morning), and go in (to work) about 9, 9:30, that was a pretty quick morning to wake up to,” the Bowling Green, Ky., native said.

“You go in tired, but you just find a way to fight through it. That’s how it’s going to be in the real world. You’re going to be up late and your alarm’s going to go off and you’re not going to want to roll out of bed. You’re just going to have to fight through it.”

It’s what Williams signed up for.

Realizing that his portfolio needed beefed up before he graduates next spring from St. Joseph’s College in northwest Indiana, Williams stopped in the school’s career center to inquire about summer internships. He figured that moonlighting (or daylighting) with a desk job this summer was doable, because after spending last summer playing for the Bombers as well, “you kind of want something to do” during the day, Williams said.

The school’s career center then reached out to Nick Stevens, the Executive Director at the Huntingburg Chamber of Commerce. His office had never before taken on an intern. But Stevens figured he could scare up enough odd jobs to fill Williams’ time card.

Williams made sure Stevens knew from the get-go that “baseball was the first priority,” as factoring in games and travel and other workouts, the sport consumes 10 hours or more of a player’s time per day. Throw in the effects of how the baseball grind can sabotage the body clock, and it’s apparent why other summer-league ballplayers aren’t trying to balance big-boy jobs with baseball.

“When we get home at 2 or 3 (in the morning), I sleep till about 11. Some guys I know need their sleep or they’re just lazy, either one, and they sleep till about 12:30, 1,” Bomber infielder Nick Gobert said. “I don’t know if all of us could do that. It’s already tough enough just playing baseball every day.”

“There’s not a lot of (players) that would go out and do that during the summer,” added Ferdinand resident Gina Jochem, who, along with husband Robert have been Williams’ host parents the last two summers. “He seems like he’s very mature.”

For Stevens, Williams’ value has been twofold: a young face who can offer an outsider’s perspective on things.

Huntingburg’s farmers market has been Williams’ primary long-term project as he’s started and updated a Facebook page and Twitter account to promote it, in addition to helping occasionally at the market on weekend mornings. At brainstorming sessions for the market at the beginning of the summer, adding live music and local food vendors were among the ideas that Williams liked and pushed for.

“We had mentioned it before but never really took it that far. (Johnathan) helped make sure that we were able to do that,” Stevens said of the food vendors, who’ve since been added to the mix with good reception from customers who can buy breakfast food on the spot.

Williams also handles updating the Chamber’s website and social media and has also assisted during Huntingburg’s recent Stellar Communities bid. Among the tasks, Williams dialed up businesses along U.S. 231 to encourage them to post “Have a Stellar Day” or “Welcome Stellar Committee” when the selection team visited earlier this month.

“He picked it right up and called them and got all that set up,” Stevens said. “I was heading out on vacation and that would have been something I would have normally done, but it gave him the opportunity and he got to know a couple more of the business people here in town.”

That’s the end game for a guy whose career vector will take him more toward that path.
“(You) kind of see the business side of connections in the business world and that’s going to help me out through that, helping me maintain contacts,” said Williams, who majors in business administration with a focus in finance and a minor in accounting. “But I’ve still gotten things done that will help me in the long run as far as experience going into the actual real world, not just baseball; that’s something I’ll be able to fall back on and see in real life.”

Real life. It’s coming. And Williams seems to have a head start on that game.

“I feel like whenever he’s at the field, he’s always got something that he wants to accomplish, and he works at it,” Gobert said. “I guarantee if he works as hard as hard at the internship as he does at baseball, he’s doing a fine job, because I love his work ethic.”

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