Humans of Hillsdale is an ongoing series spotlighting Hillsdale College student-athletes, spotlighting the people behind the uniforms.
Next in the series is Charger baseball player Christian Rodino
WORDS: Calli Townsend
PHOTO: Calli Townsend
Christian Rodino — Like Father, Like Son
Class of 2019 | Baseball | Holland, Michigan
"When I was interviewing they would ask me, 'Who's your favorite leader or coach of all time?' I would say my dad. He coached me through baseball, basketball, and a little bit of football," Christian Rodino said.
But this baseball player has a dad who taught him more than the rules of the games he played. For Christian, his dad was a role model who showed him the kind of man he strives to be.
"As I got older I realized the man I want to be is my dad," he said. "He is a man of integrity, he taught me to practice what you preach, and he's an honest, good man."
It took Christian a while to learn this, however. He said if he were to give advice to his younger self, he would say, "Listen to your dad, he's more than likely right."
"Growing up I was kind of stubborn," he said. "We have a pretty strong Italian bloodline, so of course we're always right. It took a lot of maturity for me to realize my dad has lived longer than I have and I can step back and say I should probably listen more often."
Now as Christian takes the field and finishes his last few classes during his final months as a Charger, he's getting ready to put all of his dad's lessons into practice.
Soon, he will complete his exercise science degree and plans to pursue a career in medical sales. Originally, Christian wanted to pursue his medical degree bio-chem major but changed his mind after realizing he didn't want to continue schooling for six more years.
"I love learning, I really do, but after a while I wanted to find a segway that would allow me to finish school in four years and still use my education and do what I love," he said.
What he loves includes watching surgeries, saying his favorite TV show is House. If he gets the job with Stryker Medical Sales, for which he recently interviewed, he said he would be able to "scrub in" watch various surgeries. He would also be working alongside former Hillsdale baseball teammate, Ryan O'Hearn who graduated in 2018.
At Stryker, Christian would sell medical devices that do thoracic implants in the spine to help people live healthier, more efficient, pain-free lives.
He also said the idea of sales and the financial opportunity it offers intrigues him. Inspired by his father, Christian hopes to be able to take care of his future in the same way his dad did for him.
"Growing up my dad always provided for us," he said. "I want a family and making money is a large part of why I want to go into sales."
Christian won't be alone as steps into this new adventure in his life. In the summer of 2018, he took a trip to Paris to visit his girlfriend, Mackenzie. It was there he proposed to her — right in front of the Eiffel Tower. They are getting married this summer on July 20.
Mackenzie graduated from Hope College in December with a degree in kinesiology. The two have known each other since middle school. Since then she has cheered Christian on through his many high school football, basketball, and baseball games, and now she will cheer him on through his last games in the outfield as a Charger.
Christian had offers to play football at a few Division III colleges, but he said he had more passion for baseball — and it didn't leave his body aching on Saturday mornings.
"I had more passion towards baseball. I did a lot of travel ball and liked the game of baseball a bit more," he said. "Plus I felt healthier playing baseball. I enjoyed the Friday night lights but I was a running back and was tired of feeling beat up the next morning."
His passion for the sport and life will carry him through all of life's exciting new experiences up ahead with a humble and grateful heart.
"I'm 22 years old now. You realize what your parents have done for you and I'm really grateful for that," he said. "I could never repay them other than by giving my all in everything I do."