LipscombSports.com
Schnelly leads Bisons on and off the field

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Nov. 2, 2006

There is one in every clubhouse. For instance on the 2004 Redsox it was Johnny Damon: eccentric, entertaining, and different in every sense of the word. With his shoulder length hair and beard, Damon earned the admiration of fans and teammates with his carefree love for life and magnetic personality.

Just like the 2004 Redsox, this year's Bisons' baseball team has such a player. One quick glance across the locker room and there is no doubt who it is. Standing 6'8" with multiple piercing and tattoos is right-hander Matthew Schnelly. Chances are he will be playing a joke or laughing, because at heart he is still a five year old kid.

"Behind the tattoos and piercing he is a big teddy bear," teammate Caleb Joseph said. "Never mad or never angry. No worries! He's easy to talk to, very open-minded, very chill, extremely loose tempered, and respectful about EVERYTHING."

Towering above most of his teammates as well as the majority of the student body he appears daunting and intimidating. Yet, those who know him best quickly come to the realization that this is simply not the case.

He has such an intense fear of spiders that he once asked a girl to kill the spider for him. His best friend at the moment is probably a Dalmatian/Beagle mix named Homer. And he has a yellow Colorado truck named Roxie.

Indeed, Schnelly is an enigma. He listens to heavy metal/screamo music and yet, he plays wheelbarrow with a black and white bunny named Sebastian. He has multiple piercings and four tattoos as well as two stuffed penguins named Mumble and Emperor.

In his spare time he watches informational TV shows, and reads books not typical of your stereotyped baseball player. It is perhaps because of this that friends insist he knows "everything." He has a head for useless facts and maintains that his speed reading abilities are top notch.

However, on the baseball diamond, Schnelly reverts back into the intimidator. Towering above opponents with a nasty fastball, he is no longer the guy whose incessant laugh thrills those around him, he is the Bisons' own version of Randy Johnson. You can sense the change as his walk out song blares through the loud speakers, and he makes the jog to the mound, stopping to jump across the foul line, because like most athletes, he is superstitious.

Yet, the second his job is done and he steps off the field, back into everyday life he is once more the fun loving guy who loves dogs, bunnies, and penguins.

"Schnelly plays the game like it should be played," Joseph said. "He plays very 'professionally'. His laugh and energy are very contagious., and he's a great clubhouse guy. He really brings everyone together, but treats everybody the same, no matter what grade or experience you have."

Another teammate, Jared Picchiottino agreed. "Schnelly is the kind of guy that everyone likes to hang out with. He's funny, laid back, and outgoing. He keeps everybody laughing and keeps the locker room loose."

In such an intense sport, where failure is ever present, Schnelly is the rare player who can be easy going enough to joke around and lighten the mood in the clubhouse while maintaining the professionalism baseball demands of its players.

Someone once said, "To be unforgettable, one must always be different."

Indeed Schnelly is both. He is unique, one of a kind, and yet the first to accept someone equally different. Perhaps, it is this quality that best exemplifies him and draws others closer.

Yes, he is eccentric, entertaining, and truly unforgettable. He is confident, yet not cocky. However, the words of his teammates, offered the best glimpse into the enigma which is Schnelly. In the end, only four words were needed.

"He's the ultimate teammate," Joseph said.

By: Krissy Wade