Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Of Fastballs and Free Hot Dogs


It was like any cliché baseball movie, except probably more awesome.

Adam Pincus might not have been playing for the Miami Marlins when he struck a fastball to run home, but the glory of unexpected triumph still rained upon him with cheers from his friends, family and teammates as he sped to second base.

“It was pretty miraculous. That was definitely his shining moment. It came out of nowhere,” says Pincus’ best friend and former teammate Max Halasz.

Pincus’ high school varsity baseball team, the Miami Palmetto Senior High School Panthers, were tied 1-1 to the Felix Varela Senior High School Vipers. Victory stood between Pincus, who was filling in as a starter, and a lighting-fast pitcher, who was being scouted by colleges across the nation.

And when, as Halasz says, Pincus “wasted a 95-mile-an-hour fastball,” the entire team erupted in celebration. They had won.

But that victory was not simple luck; Pincus had worked hard, juggling his roles as varsity baseball player, editor-in-chief of the school paper, yearbook staff member and academic achiever.  

“He didn’t play that way consistently but he always worked his ass off. He always wanted to be out on the field, he wasn’t really discouraged by the fact that he didn’t play every day,” Halasz says. “And the second he got his opportunity, all that hard work paid off for him. It all accumulated in that one event.”

After working hard for a few more years at University of Florida, now Pincus is in New York City at Field and Stream, learning something new every day about a sports lifestyle he has never before experienced.

Sure, in college he wrote about the football team regularly, and just about every other sport besides gymnastics and soccer. But fishing? Hunting?

“Growing up where we grew up, there weren’t any fields or streams,” Halasz quips. (However, Pincus says outdoor sports are actually quite popular in the region; his circle of friends just never really got into it.)

But that’s a good thing, Pincus says, because it puts him out of his comfort zone and into a place where he’s learning a lot and soaking up every moment as an intern at a national magazine.

From the offices at Field and Stream, the trophy head of a mounted gazelle looms over his desk, and a duck decoy in his cubicle patiently gazes at him as he completes his daily tasks.

“It’s very open, which I really like. You can go in and talk to anybody. Everyone’s there to help. They really stress asking questions, making sure you get things right,” Pincus says.

Pincus fact checks articles, researches blog posts and attends meetings. He’s learned the different types of deer and the intricacies of a muzzle-loader gun.

He has also very much enjoyed the ASME lunches. Though he worries he may have asked one too many questions at Sports Illustrated, or that he might have eaten one too many sandwiches at Saveur.

Pincus loves to eat. He unabashedly ate nachos during his phone interview with me, and Halasz says during high school Pincus would visit his friends’ houses and eat all the food.

“Then my dad would have to go grocery shopping again and we’d all make fun of him,” Halasz says with a laugh.

In fact, one of Pincus’ favorite cheap eats in New York City is Rudy’s Bar and Grill, where the beer is cheap and the free hot dogs are plentiful.

But his appreciation for the city’s culture goes beyond the contents of his stomach.

Every day on the way home from work, Pincus absorbs the restlessness of the city, spotting a new street performer on the subway, a different homeless person on the sidewalk.

When he graduates from school, he’s definitely going to come back.

“I’ll will write for any magazine that gives me a job,” Pincus says.

He believes that if he continues to network and share his clips, he can achieve his goal.

“There’s plenty of jobs out there, you just gotta go and really work at it,” Pincus adds.

But despite his career goals and aspirations, a few things in Florida keep him missing home, like watching Dolphins games on Sundays with his dad or hanging out with his dog, Zoe.

Pincus’ sister, Lauren Pincus, says their parents always supported Adam in whatever he wanted to do, even though his future in journalism might not be as lucrative as one in biochemistry or law.

Pincus’ other best friend Brett Gerson says Pincus’ confidence and writing skills will bring him a good future.

“When you read his writing, you wouldn’t think it came from him,” Gerson says. “He’s very good at what he does.”

And no matter what, Pincus will always stick to his personality and keep those around him laughing. It’s just what he does, his friends say. Like that time he tried to eat 12 donuts to win a free T-shirt, but could only eat 11, but got the T-shirt anyways.

“He down to do anything. You wanna go somewhere, you want to do something, and he’s like go-with-the-flow,” Gerson says.

In an industry and a city where every day is a completely new adventure to tackle, Pincus is having a blast.

By Harmony Huskinson, Arizona State University, National Geographic
Edited by Lydia Belanger, Northwestern University, AARP The Magazine

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