TAMPA, FLA. – Vin Cosenzo plays baseball in picturesque Florida, but his love of the game was born in the raucous crowds of New York’s Shea Stadium.
The outfielder for the University of Tampa Spartans is in his senior year and approaching the end of his playing career, but there’s one important thing he will take with him as he embarks on the next stage—a rediscovered love for the game.
It’s a love that began with flecks of playful animosity and a twist on the traditional father-son baseball game.
“My dad is a big Mets fan and I’m a big Yankees fan,” Cosenzo said. “Back when I was little, my dad would always take me to Mets games, but I was stubborn so I would always wear Yankees stuff. I always had the fans yelling at me, but it was just fun to go to those games.”
That boyhood appreciation for the game, however, faded after he suffered a devastating ankle injury shortly after his freshman year.
“I was hurt the first six months I was down here; it was really just soul-crushing. I was so stressed out by everything that it sort of felt more like work than fun,” he said.
As gruelling as the journey back to the diamond was, the pain taught Cosenzo an important lesson.
“Baseball can’t control your life. Sometimes we love this game so much that we let it control our emotions on and off the field,” he said. “It’s just hard because it’s all of our dreams to just play this game, and when it’s taken away from you it hurts a lot. But you really have to just separate it and realize that baseball is a part of life – it’s not your whole life.”
That separation has helped Cosenzo prepare for the next stage of his life as he gets set to attend law school, which was always the plan for the Academic All-American. In learning to let go, the New Jersey native grasped the simple joy that led him to baseball in the first place.
“Within the last two years I’ve really made an effort to remember why I play baseball, which is to have fun and enjoy this experience,” he said. “It’s the love of the game.”