When you first see freshman Travis Duke, you won’t think he’s a freshman at all. Standing at 6 feet and 4 inches tall, this 18-year-old is fit and (I must say) pretty muscular. As he sat down in front of me, he brushed his short brown hair back with both of his hands, smiled and said with confidence, “I’m ready when you are.”
While everyone enjoys his or her three month summer vacation, Duke’s was cut short at the end of June. “I moved to Austin early to take summer classes and to get ready for baseball,” Duke said. “I met up with the strengthening coach and worked out a lot.” Duke is a member of the baseball team and got a scholarship for his swift pitches. “I was beyond ecstatic when I got the scholarship,” Duke said. “I told my parents right away and we just started jumping around and cheering. I just remember us being very loud and very happy.”
Duke plans on pursuing his dream of playing for the major leagues. “The possibility of fulfilling my dream as being a part of a major league baseball team is what inspired me to go the baseball path,” he said. “It has always been my dream ever since I started playing as a kid.” Having that dream wasn’t the only thing that motivated Duke, though. “I have my dad to thank,” he said. “He was my big inspiration and my biggest motivator.”
Athletic and smart, Duke is planning to major in public relations and to also receive a minor in marketing. “I feel like I’m really good at public speaking,” Duke said. “I’m pretty good at math too. So I kind of just put two and two together.”
During his spare time, Duke likes to sleep. “My schedule is so jam-packed,” he said. “It’s nice to just unwind and relax.” He started laughing and admitted that he had already taken two naps before meeting with me. “It was pretty great,” he joked.
After we chatted more about his schedule, I realized that this was his first year at UT, once again, forgetting that he’s a freshman. When asked how college was treating him, he answered with no hesitation. “College is definitely a lot of fun. I have a lot more freedom,” he said. “But at the same time it’s starting to mature me just because of the amount of responsibility that comes with living away from my parents.”
During the interview, I immediately found out that Duke not only had a serious side, but had a humorous side as well. “My guilty pleasure song is ‘Love On Top,’ by Beyonce,” he said. Before I could respond to his statement, the catchy tune started blaring out of his phone. Already starting to dance he said, “I jam to this song every morning before my 6 a.m. workouts. I sing my heart out at 5:30 in the morning. It’s a great jam.” I started to laugh and by instinct started moving my shoulders to the beat. I could only agree with this opinion. It is in fact, ‘a great jam.’
HCTX: If you could trade lives with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Usain Bolt. His athleticism comes so naturally to him. I’ve never been fast and he’s the fastest man in the world. I think it would be pretty cool to be that fast.
HCTX: If you were to do something besides baseball, what would it be? No limits, no boundaries.
I’d be an analyst on ESPN, just because I love talking and I love sports. I mean, what’s better than talking about sports?
Random fact: He’s left-handed pitcher.
HCTX: What would you consider a perfect date?
Just the traditional: dinner and a movie. I would pick up the girl and just plan on having a nice romantic evening.
And yes ladies, he is single.