Iowa Lakes Student Sports Championship Ring — And More to Come!
It’s easy for faculty, staff and fellow students to spot Adam Heslinga on the Iowa Lakes campuses in Algona or Emmetsburg when he’s wearing his 2014 Kansas City Royals American League Championship ring. As some might say, “It’s huge!”
It’s also quite a perk for the 22-year-old clubhouse assistant bat boy for the Royals.
And while his ring is from the 2014 season when Kansas City was bested in the seven-game World Series by San Francisco Heslinga says he hopes to soon receive three 2015 rings, for the Division Championship, the American League Championship, and the World Series Championship, after the Royals defeated the Mets in just five games.
A sports management major at Iowa Lakes, Heslinga grew up in Shenandoah, but moved to the Kansas City area where he played basketball and baseball in high school. It wasn’t until after he graduated that a friend who worked for the Royals suggested that he should apply to fill a late vacancy on the support staff. “My interview actually happened after I was hired while we were playing catch,” he explained.
After working through the 2013 season, Heslinga moved to Algona and turned to Iowa Lakes when his new job didn’t work out as he thought it would. His parents had suggested that he should return to school closer to home. But he told them, “There’s something about the small town that kind of drew me in. Everyone is super friendly. Iowa Lakes helped a lot, too. I’ve grown to really like Iowa Lakes.”
Even when he moved back to Algona for classes again this fall, Heslinga commuted to Kansas City to work through the playoffs and World Series all around his classes and his job at the Hy-Vee store in Algona.
Heslinga says he hopes to get with a professional baseball team even though basketball was his best sport in high school. “Working with the Royals, I now know a lot more about baseball than basketball.” And while he might have to work through the minor leagues, his ultimate goal is to become the general manager of a major league team. “With the right connections and a degree it could become a reality. I know I have to put my time in.”
Through the seasons, playoffs and World Series, Heslinga says he worked long hours cleaning gear, and getting it ready for both the Royals and the visiting teams as they don’t usually travel with a full staff though he did get to travel to Minnesota and Chicago with the Royals.
The fun part of Heslinga’s job was working with players during batting practice. “That was a cool part. It kind of surprised me. They’re not prima donnas. All the Royals know me by my first name. They’re really nice to us. Even Salvador Perez (catcher and this year’s World Series Most Valuable Player) joked around with me and I joked around with him.
“I’ve never had an instance where a home or visiting player has been disrespectful or anything. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the players.”
The most unusual situation Heslinga faced came from a visiting player who asked him to stow some valuable diamond jewelry in the clubhouse safe. “It kind of freaked me out.”
“Each time the Royals won a game was always a good time,” Heslinga said, “with music and lots of catered food. It’s like they’re all 12-years-old and winning the Little League World Series again. It’s kind of cool to see that stuff.”
The aura is different after a lost game, he noted. “But even though they hate to lose, they still love the game.”