Meet IWU’s biggest fan: Seth Bauersfeld

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Jeff Neukom, Managing Editor

Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus is home to many interesting and incredible people, and many of them walk among us unknown. One such person is Seth Bauersfeld, volunteer manager for IWU’s football team.

Bauersfeld is quite a popular figure among the athletes here at Wesleyan, and to say that he is excited for the football season to start would be a drastic understatement. He expressed quite a bit of frustration with scrimmage games, mostly because of the lack of sacks and safeties. Like most of us, he prefers the high stakes atmosphere of regular season games, where a single loss can make a huge difference.

Football brings out all the “Monday morning quarterbacks” and supposed pundits who will talk about football until… well they never truly stop, if we’re honest. But, none of them talk about football with a joyful and elated smile going from ear to ear. People usually use that expression in a figurative sense, but I think Seth’s smile honestly might have stretched so far it touched both sides of his head when I asked him if he was excited for football season to start.

After a chance meeting with Coach Eash at Calvary United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Seth has been an unmistakable presence on the Titan sideline. On that day, Bauersfeld said that they talked about their mutual love for football, and then Eash asked him if he’d be interested in helping out with the football team.

“Ohhhhhh, yeah!” Bauersfeld said.

Another part of his introduction to the Wesleyan sideline came when his sister, Leah, attended Wesleyan and was a member of the pep band. The band invited Bauersfeld, being the irresistibly social person that he is, to join them as they pumped up the crowd. A few members, so enthralled with his high-spirited personality, attempted to introduce him to another girl on the pep band, unaware that this girl, Leah, just so happened to be his sister!

He has since been in attendance for all Titan events, be they practices or games. Whether it’s compiling post-game performance reports or celebrating with the cheerleaders, Bauersfeld has certainly laid a claim to being IWU’s biggest fan. Due to a surprise neck injury, though, he will have to put his patented celebration – jumping in with the cheerleading team to do some pushups – on hold until he’s fully recovered.

He and his mom, who was there just in case he needed any clarification or further information, light-heartedly quabbled over the source and exact location of the injury. It was clear that, whatever the cause of the injury, Bauersfeld was itching to get back out there.

While he recovers, he said, he’ll have other important obligations, such as keeping the players behind the white line and maintaining the fiery, winning spirit on the sideline. Undoubtedly, Coach Eash will anxiously await his weekly report.

One thing those supposed pundits seem to forget is that there is more to life than football, more than just sports. For Bauersfeld, football is just one opportunity for him to do what he feels is most important in life: helping others.

“My goal is to let people know that there are many others out there who need help. That’s what I want to do,” Bauersfeld said.

During the summer of 2014, Bauersfeld was quite active in his quest to serve those in need. He joined AMBUCS, an organization with a membership dedicated to helping people with disabilities achieve mobility and independence, on a trip to Haiti where they built ramps to assist people with limited mobility. Within days of returning stateside, Bauersfeld turned right back around and headed down to Costa Rica with a different group, the McClean County Diversity Project.

The group’s mission was to have high school-age students learn to get along and work together, no matter their background. In Costa Rica, the students were thrown into a new culture, immersed in the Costa Rican daily life. While there, they planted countless trees, both to help restore tree population and help beautify the area.

But, even then, Seth wasn’t finished. He went on sponsor a child in Rwanda, through World Vision International. Sponsorships involve a monthly donation to a child, which helps provide clean, safe water, in addition to improved nutrition and education. He has also been very active in his church, encouraging them to develop a similar sponsorship with children in Uganda.

Whether it’s providing support to people worldwide or members of his own community, Bauersfeld is dedicated to helping people. When it comes to the teams here at Wesleyan, his commitment is unwavering.

“I like helping every single sport. They’re all the same, they’re all Titans,” he said.

His motto doesn’t just hold true for sports. It holds true for his life outside of sports as well. It’s clear that Bauersfeld views helping out the school teams the same way that he views helping people in countries like Haiti and Costa Rica – they’re all people, human beings, and he wants to help them all.