Florida State University

Eric Roman

Molded. That’s how I would summarize the last four years of my life. I grew up as an only-child, fortunate to have great parents that taught me about morals and character. But this was all done without a church. My father had grown up in a Catholic family, and my mother in a Baptist one. Neither had attended church in many years. My mother felt a great deal of guilt for not raising me in a Christian environment, so we started attending church regularly when I was 12 years old. 

At that time, I was not interested in what the church had to offer. Though I felt that I believed in God, I wasn’t truly interested in the specifics. I went because my mother made me. My father raised me to ask questions, and find answers in a didactic manner. As I aged through high school, it seemed that more and more of these questions related to God and our creation. Through several years of searching, I came to one, and only one conclusion. The Lord created heaven and earth, and Jesus Christ died for my sins, so that I may have eternal life. I made my profession of faith, and was subsequently baptized during my senior year of high school. However, that was it. I didn’t actively grow in my knowledge or understanding of God’s word. I was stagnant in my faith. 
Slowly, I began to recognize God’s role in my life. He has blessed me with so many talents, both physical and mental. When it came time to make my college decision, I was being pursued by practically every major college in the country, from Ivy Leagues to Stanford, as a result of my baseball talents and academic prowess. Florida State University was not high on my list.

As a matter of fact, it was on the bottom. While FSU is a top baseball school and I felt very comfortable in Tallahassee during my recruiting trip, the university’s academic reputation left something to be desired. With less than three months left until classes began, I was still undecided. I prayed that the Lord would lead me in the direction of His will. That will became apparent during a conversation with Coach Martin one evening late in May. He said, “Eric, I know you’re having trouble with this decision. And I understand. I just pray that if God wills it, you’ll be a Seminole.” I had not thought about Florida State in terms of God’s will. Could that comfort I felt in Tallahassee be a sign? Coach Martin is a Christian? I signed with FSU the next day. 

The Lord had drawn me to a program run by Christian coaches. I began attending team bible studies during the fall of my freshman year. More than half the players attended. For the first time in my life, I studied the bible. And I found strength. Strength to that I would need in the near future, because things didn’t go easy that first year. In two months time, I suffered two hyper-extended knees, a compression fracture of my 4th metacarpal, a second degree ankle sprain, and a shoulder nerve impingement. To make matters worse, my pitching and physical strength were pitiful. By Christmas break, I was ready to quit. But I knew that God had not brought me into the program just to watch me give up. So I worked hard. I gained 6 mph on my fastball. By the beginning of the season, I had earned a spot as the first pitcher out of the bullpen. The coaches had high hopes. So did I, until a severe elbow tendonitis shut me down for the entire season. Why me? I had worked so hard. But I knew that I was on God’s schedule, not Eric’s. And the Lord had baseball on hold. 

Two years later I had a team leading ERA of 0.89, setting a school record for fewest earned runs surrendered in a season. I’m no longer the weakest player on the team either. Instead, I won our strength award for top conditioned athlete. Best of all, my real growth has nothing to do with standing between the foul lines. I’ve had the opportunity to become the spiritual leader of the team. It’s now my duty to arrange bible studies and lead prayer. I’d be content with my role on the team if I never set foot on the field. I have a duty to serve the Lord by leading this group. 

Had I not attended Florida State, I’m confident that I would have missed out on so many of the experiences that have molded and enriched my faith in God. As it stands now, I’m preparing to give up my final year of baseball eligibility to attend dental school. In June of this year, I will be married to a Cynthia, whom I met in Tallahassee at a church bible study. The Lord has showed me that baseball was merely a vessel, not an end. Following God’s will to FSU prepared me spiritually to lead in my family, and in my profession. 


Eric Roman