Category Archives: Jimmie Profiles

An interview with the esports Coach

Explanation of the team, where we are located, and how/when we compete with physical attendance options The UJ Esports team competes in competitive video game titles across two seasons each year. The titles we compete in are Call of Duty, Fortnite, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch 2, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Valorant. Our facility is located in the basement of the Hansen center on campus at the University of Jamestown. We normally compete entirely remotely. Due to the nature of video games, we can connect instantly with schools all over the country and we stream our games live on our Twitch channel at https://twitch.tv/uj_esports. Due to us competing in this way, we don’t have the same opportunities for a live audience so we like to give everyone a chance to watch from wherever they may be. We also occasionally hold live viewings of our competitions up on the gym floor in the Hansen. These events are a great opportunity to get a live crowd experience and our players love getting to play in front of an audience every once in a while.

  1. Player perspective How did you join the program? How long? I originally joined the program during it’s first year of competition in 2017. My older brother was the coach at the time and was looking for one more Hearthstone player. I had just started playing the game during my breaks at work and told him I’d be willing to walk on and give it a try! I went on to compete for 5 years throughout my undergraduate and graduate years and it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. What games did you play? I played Hearthstone, a virtual card game, for 3 years and then spent the last 2 years competing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate which is a platform fighting game created by Nintendo. What does it mean to be in esports as a player right now? Esports is an ever-growing scene and being a player right now holds a good deal more significance than it used to. Players in the collegiate scene right now are on scholarship to play and have a chance to be a part of a greater team than what they’re used to. We see players at the college level that rival the skill of top ranked players across the titles they compete in and some even have the chance to go on to play on professional teams as well. There are so many opportunities for players today to grow and succeed and I’m very thankful to have had that chance for such a long time.
  2. Has the environment around esports changed since you were a player? The scene continues to grow exponentially each year. I feel that esports has been a relatively undiscovered thing to the normal person but with how much traction it’s gained at the professional, collegiate, and high school level, more and more people have realized the legitimacy of it. Parents are more accepting of their kids having a chance to compete and get scholarships for esports, more and more coaches and directors are finding career paths, and the list continues from there. esports will even soon be an Olympic sport and that’s something that is truly amazing to see. If you could, would you compete again? I’ll admit that sometimes, especially being a coach and being around games 24/7, there is the occasional itch to get back into competition. However, I’m more than happy with how I spent my career as a player and the fact that I can now help my student athletes succeed and get that experience for themselves. Every once in a while I’ll hop into a few casual games with the team, but that’s about it and that’s totally okay with me!
  3. Coach perspectiveWhat encouraged you to apply for the coaching job? Esports has been such a huge part of my life for the last 5 years that I couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to make a career out of it. My brother started this program almost 6 years ago and I’ve been a part of it since it’s creation. It has a special place in my heart, and I want nothing more than to see it grow and succeed. I’m just very thankful that I get to continue to be a part of that and lead the team in a positive way.
  4. Since your brother started this program, has that relationship changed the way you view the team? Josh has given me a lot of really great perspective on how to be a better coach but also how to be a better person. He actually works for the company that provides our computers and equipment, so I now have another relationship with him as a business partner as well. We don’t always see eye to eye on everything but I trust him more than anyone in the scene. He’s taught me how special this team can be and he could not have been more right about it.
  5. Do you have a core philosophy for your coaching? Coaching in esports is a lot different than traditional sports but its also similar in a lot of ways. We still have team-focused drills, practices, video reviews, competitions, and much more. My main philosophy for coaching esports is coaching mindset. Coaching 8 different titles at a high level just isn’t feasible for the average person so I focus a lot of my energy on coaching motivation, healthy habits, and teamwork. The goal in esports is to make your teams as self-sufficient as possible while still providing them the tools they need to succeed.
  6. How do you want people to view the program? A few years ago, I would’ve answered this question a lot differently. At the time I would’ve said that I want people to view esports like any other traditional sport and give it the same respect. Today, I would actually encourage people to not compare it to traditional sports like football and volleyball. While a lot of the philosophies could be similar, I think that esports has created its own world and its own ecosystem and it deserves to get credit for that. I mainly just want people to recognize the legitimacy of it and realize that it is incredibly entertaining and provides endless opportunities to those that get to be a part of it. People can support the program simply just by watching a livestream and that is more than enough. Take it seriously… because esports is here to stay

Former athlete Noah Soltero turned GA for Jimmie Baseball 

Former student athlete Noah Soltero rises to new position as a Grad Assistant for Jimmie Baseball. Soltero has spent two years as a closing pitcher for the Jimmies and now has transitioned to earn his master’s in leadership while coaching for the Jimmies’ baseball team. His transition from an athlete to a coach may well come with challenges. Soltero states, “The transition from an athlete to a GA has been great because I didn’t take any time off baseball. Although I’m not doing it physically, coaching is a lot of mental work.” Creating that player/coach separation may be a challenge, as well.  

Soltero has enjoyed his journey as a Jimmie and as a coach for Jimmie Baseball. He notes, “I love the fact that I get to coach the sport I love day one and day out as a full-time job, wouldn’t want it any other way.” 

Although turning from student athlete to coach may be challenging, it is something most student athletes want to experience. Noah is a great example of what success can be like for a student athlete. Soltero mentions, “The advice I would give is listening to your coaches as best as you can be. Coaches understand that they aren’t any superior to the athletes, we just have a special influential power. Thus, having faith in what coaches tell you.” Lastly, this story will shed light on what many student athletes and coaches look for through their challenges and may need advice.   

Jimmie Profile: Lucas Schumacher

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Lucas Schumacher and I am from Linton, North Dakota.

How has your experience been at Jamestown so far? 

My experience has been great! It’s been awesome being with the basketball team and meeting new people.

What is your favorite thing about attending the University of Jamestown?

My favorite thing would probably be playing basketball and hanging out with the guys!

How are you involved on campus?

I have gone to special events and have been supporting other sporting events. I am also on the basketball team.

Is this experience different from your experience at home, if so how? 

Yes, because I went to a school with a total of 85 kids freshman through senior year, so coming to Jamestown and meeting and seeing all of the students is awesome!

Are you glad you joined the Jimmie family?

Yes, I’m super thankful I came here because I honestly couldn’t ask for anything better!

Homecoming King and Queen Interview

Two weeks ago, the University of Jamestown celebrated their annual homecoming. This consisted of many fun events and activities, including grocery bag bingo, food trucks that served mini donuts and Mexican food, a blood drive, and a 5k run. To complete the festivities, UJ crowned Garrett Bickett Homecoming King and his girlfriend, Anna Holen, Homecoming Queen. We appreciated the opportunity to interview Garrett and Anna and get their thoughts on homecoming, hear about their UJ experience, and learn a little bit more about who they are.  

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. 

Anna: I grew up in small town ND, my parents had 8 kids, and I’m the 7th. All of my siblings came to UJ (except the oldest- she started a family and didn’t go to college). I have 13 nieces and nephews, the oldest 2 are in college and are more like my brothers. My family is very close. I love coffee, my ukulele, and Jesus. My favorite color is black and purple. I also love food. My mom’s cooking specifically.  

Garrett: I’m from Carrington, ND. I have 2 brothers, one older one younger. I’m an exercise science major and I plan to go to PT school when I graduate. I like shoes, cats, and breakfast is my favorite meal. 

Q: What are you involved in around campus? 

Anna: Women’s volleyball team and the Faith in Athletics campus ministry team  

Garrett: Men’s basketball assistant coach, Faith in Athletics Ministry Team 

Q: What are your favorite things to do on campus? 

Anna: Java, going to chapel, going to men’s basketball games.  

Garrett: Play pool with the basketball team, longboard, take pictures, going to women’s volleyball games  

Q: What is your favorite drink at Java? 

Anna: Iced pumpkin latte with oat milk  

Garrett: Orange with cream zinger 

Q: What do you like most about UJ? 

Anna: Coach Jon Hegerle and Teree Rittenbach. Also, the fact that it has given me my best friends.  

Garrett: That it’s better than Valley City 

Q: What was your favorite part of homecoming? 

Anna: The alumni that get to come back to campus. 

Garrett: The football game 

Q: How does it feel to be king and queen?  

Anna: The same as when we weren’t king and queen. Kidding, I’m honored. I’m honored to represent UJ because this place means a lot to me.  

Garrett: It’s pretty cool to be able to represent UJ. And it’s cool to know that Anna got it because of me. 

Q: When did you guys meet and how? 

Anna: We met in the 8th grade when Garrett saw me play volleyball in his home town and he fell in love.  

Garrett: I saw Anna play volleyball and she fell in love. 

Q: What does being a Jimmie mean to you? 

Anna: Being a Jimmie means working hard, giving back, and caring for others. It means being a part of a family that you’ll have forever.  

Garrett: Serving others, treating people well, and picking rock. 

Q: What do you most appreciate about UJ? 

Anna: I appreciate how it’s allowed me to grow in my faith. There have been opportunities here for Jesus to become priority in my life.  

Garrett: The community feel and the professors taking the time getting to know their students. 

Q: What is one of your favorite memories of your time here at UJ? 

Anna: 3-0 northwestern to win the conference in a PACKED Newman.  

Garrett: Beating Dordt and Concordia at home last year in basketball. 

Q: Do you have any advice for your fellow Jimmies? 

Anna: Get to know Jesus. 

Garrett: Take the time to build great relationships. 

Photo credit Logan C. Adams 

Freshman Interview: Hershell Jefferson

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Hershell Jefferson. I’m from Pensacola, Florida. 

How has your first 6 weeks gone here at Jamestown? 

The first 6 weeks have been treating me well, nothing crazy but the classes are different. 

What is your favorite thing about your experience at Jamestown?

My favorite experience were the activities they hosted for us the second week of school meeting new students. 

How have you gotten involved on campus?

I’m on the football team, other than that I haven’t really been involved but look forward to getting more involved. 

How is this experience different from your experience at home? 

Seeing new people and getting to make new friends is all new to me coming from Pensacola where everybody knows everybody. 

Do you love being a Jimmie?

1000% love being a Jimmie! Let’s goooooo!

Freshman Spotlight: Philo Ledermann

Philomena Ledermann, who goes by ‘Philo’, has recently joined University of Jamestown as a freshman. Travelling all the way from Regensburg, in Germany, where she has lived all her life, she accepted a scholarship to play soccer as a Jimmie. We asked Philo a number of questions, to get more of an insight on her background and what it is like being a Freshman here at UJ: 

Where is it that you’re from? 

 ‘It’s about 1 and a half hours away from Munich, so it gets very hot in the summer and freezing in Winter, kind of like here’ said Philo.  

Why did you come to the University of Jamestown?  

‘I got the opportunity to play soccer here on a scholarship, so I can choose to stay for 1 year or the full 4 years, but I’m going to play it by ear and see what my bank account allows me.’ 

How long have you been playing soccer?  

‘I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old, so 14 years in total. I played for my school and my club for this length of time. The soccer culture is massive where I live, so I just fell into it through school. I grew up with it playing soccer on the streets with my neighbours when we were younger.’ 

How are you settling in?  

‘Well I’ve been here since the start of August, so I’ve had a bit more time than most freshmen and my teammates gave me such a warm welcome by showing me around campus and easing my nerves.’ 

Have there been any culture shocks for you?  

‘Everything. The food is so much sweeter here, we don’t put ice in our drinks, the legal drinking age is 16, and the beer is so much better at home, no offence.’ 

What are you looking forward to this year?  

‘Hoping to have a successful season and have a great time on and off the field. Excited to learn more about American culture, meet new people and make new friendships.’  

What’s your favourite thing about Jamestown so far?  

‘Definitely the people. They are so nice, open and friendly, it’s definitely one of my favourite things about Jamestown.’ 

After speaking to Philo, we learned that she wanted to experience life outside of being a Jimmie, while she is in the USA. From wanting to ‘visit California’ and ‘experience the holidays here’, there are so many things that she’s looking forward to. She is enjoying her time here so far, excited about her soccer career and has made very memorable friends.

There Are No Limits

By Emma Bennett

When I was a senior at my small high school, I couldn’t wait to graduate and go to a big college.

I had lived in Jamestown almost my entire life, and although I loved growing up here, I was sure that the next step for me would be far, far away.What I missed when I was at a big college

Once I started college at a university out of state, I began to realize that I had taken the best things about a small school for granted. As a freshman, I was paying my dues and taking responsibilities that nobody else wanted, just waiting for my turn to be passionate about what I was doing. I grew increasingly frustrated with my decision to go somewhere that limited me to one, solitary identity: a freshman musical theatre major.

I missed knowing people who were interested in different things than me. I missed performing every chance I got. Above all, I missed being involved and feeling like an important part of what was going on around me. I knew I had the potential to be far more than just that one thing, but I wasn’t sure how to fix it.

Discovering UJ

Eventually, I came home for a visit that happened to coincide with UJ’s fall musical. I was incredibly jealous at how many people got the chance to perform on the Reiland’s beautiful stage. I met some of the students involved in the show and was surprised to learn that they weren’t all theatre majors; they were graphic designers, engineers, nurses, and everything in between. Every single one of them was immersed in and excited about other activities around campus.

I had seen many shows here before, but that experience really helped push me to make the decision to come to UJ; the perfect school for me had been just around the corner all along.

Becoming a part of the campus community

I was so nervous to start classes here. Most people find it difficult to move away for college, but the hardest part for me was coming back to my hometown. I was determined to keep my head down and play the part of the dutiful freshman for the rest of the year, but I was met with such positivity and acceptance that I quickly became a part of the campus community. Since I transferred to UJ, I have become more than I thought possible: a double major (I never would have known I was interested in marketing!), an actor/designer/director, a member of the choir board, and so much more.

I’ve had the opportunity to work multiple jobs, meet so many interesting people, and even help develop a new service organization on campus. I no longer feel defined by one little piece of who I am. There are absolutely no limits to who you can be, and that’s something I learned here.

I came to college hoping to grow and learn and become a better version of myself. UJ has been a wonderful place to do just that. I am so thankful for all the professors, classmates, and friends that have accepted and challenged me along the way, and really made UJ my home.

From Uruguay to ND

By Valentino Grasiuso

When you’re born in a third world country, most people don’t even think of the possibility of studying in the United States; it just seems so far from reality.

But, inspired by the dream of playing basketball at a higher level, I decided to take a chance in the land of opportunities when I was only 16.

It was nothing but pure excitement and fun during my exchange year—so much so that I decided to come back for my senior year of high school and try to find a University to attend.

UJ was the first school to give me a chance, and from the moment I opened the first package, I knew it was a good fit. Traveling further north to an even smaller town seemed crazy at the moment, but that’s one of the many lessons that this experience gave me: it doesn’t matter where you are—what matters are the people you are with.

Even though basketball didn’t end up working out, I am grateful for everyone in the program for taking me in and giving me a chance. I realized I was still looking for something bigger. Basketball opened many doors for me, took me to the United States, and now it was time to move on.

I found my spot in the team, not during the year I played, but during the years I didn’t. Being a part of the group in a different role made me realize that sometimes, experiences are meant to take you to a different place, but we shouldn’t be afraid of letting go.

UJ has a very special place in my heart. Throughout my years, I met some of the most incredible people. The ability to stop by your professor’s office to talk about schoolwork or personal endeavors is something you don’t hear from a lot of schools, so I am very grateful I had the chance of learning from the people I did. They not only taught me business, but many life lessons I will carry with me for a long time.

My English wasn’t very good at first. Throughout the years, my friends always worked with me to progressively improve and become part of their culture. An experience like this, being 6000 miles away from home, is not easy. I missed, I doubted, I struggled, but UJ always made me have a positive look on whatever was going on.

For future/current students and alumni, I would say: take risks, do what you love, and embrace discomfort. Life is what you make it, and opportunities seem crazy until they don’t. They say we have two lives; the second one starts when we realize we have only one. UJ helped me start living my second life.

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