At 22-years-old, senior pitcher Rigo Beltran seems to have a good handle on life. His impact reaches far beyond a firm fastball and sharp curve. Beltran takes great pride in his efforts to make a positive change in the community and in the world.
Growing up, Beltran had a baseball role model right at home. His father played four years of Major League Baseball, and he remembers this time fondly. “He was my idol growing up,” said Beltran. “I wanted to be just like him.”
He remembers the moment when it dawned on him that his father was a big leaguer, “one day walking into Shea [Stadium], after seeing thousands of people and feeling the buzz in the stadium, it really sank in that my dad was in the big leagues,”said Beltran. This moment instilled in him a lifelong love and passion for the game of baseball.
In his second year at Lynn, after transferring from Broward College, Beltran had taken full advantage of life on and off the field. Besides being one of the main pitchers for the Fighting Knights baseball team, Beltran organizes the participation of baseball and softball players for Miracle League.
“Every Saturday in the fall for about two months, we go to Miracle League and get the opportunity to help children with special needs play the game that we all love so much,” said Beltran.
In addition to Miracle League, Beltran is co-president of SAAC, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, an organization in charge of voting on conference legislation, as well as providing a voice for the student-athletes. SAAC is also involved in several community service projects, which includes Caps of Love, a fund raiser where plastic bottle caps are collected to buy wheelchairs for financially disadvantaged children.
“My biggest project right now,” said Beltran, “is raising money for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida.” Beltran and SAAC are looking to raise $5,000 by this summer.
The money will go to sponsor the wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition. SAAC is asking for donations of any amount. Donations may be given at a flat rate, or a donor can place a pledge based on a Lynn athletics feat, such as home runs hit, goals scored, free throws made, among others. Students interested in helping Beltran and the SAAC meet the goal can visit www. lynnfightingknights.com, click on Inside Athletics and select the option for SAAC Make-A-Wish.
“This is a great cause for Lynn as well as for the community,” Beltran said. “We need all of the help we can get in order to reach our goal.”
Just as much as baseball is rooted deep within Beltran, so is giving back to the community. South Florida serves as Beltran’s hometown, which points to the reason behind his dedication to give back to the community. His commitment to giving back is reflective of a growing trend among student athletes who actively participate in ways to use their sport as a means to connect community members and bridge those affected by hardships.
In accordance to a passion for giving back to his community, Beltan tries to live life by a quote from the great Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives.” Aside from his athletic goals, Beltran urges athletes and community members strive to get involved in making this world a better place.