Challenges are nothing new to senior baseball players Alan and Chris Lowry. Having dealt with Type 1 diabetes their whole life, they have learned to beat the odds and take challenges head on. Now ready to graduate, the twins plan to take the skills they have learned in the classroom and on the baseball diamond into the real world.
Starting tee ball at age five and spending nine years of their adolescence in Canada where their father worked for an oil company, the Lowrys played almost every sport, from badminton to men’s wrestling and cross-country. But once back in the United States, the brothers settled on baseball as their true passion. “As you get older you have to choose one sport or else you will never get good at any of them, and baseball was the most fun, so that is what we chose,” says Pirates pitcher Alan Lowry.
Playing baseball for four years at Southwestern has provided them with numerous benefits in all areas of life. “Things like discipline, time management, prioritization, even things like understanding how you operate as a person, and understanding and improving your weaknesses translate to almost every aspect of life,” Alan says.
Academic excellence is something that the Lowry brothers pride themselves in and Chris, who plays second and third base, attributes part of that to his baseball training. “Baseball is one of those things where you put so much work in and you only get a little bit better, and I think this teaches you a lesson, because in academia if you work hard, you see the reward,” he says. “We practice and work for a medium outcome on the field, then in our academics we work hard and make really good grades.”
Having Type 1 diabetes has never held the Lowry brothers back, but their health has always been the top priority. “We have to take care of our diabetes first, then think about baseball,” Alan says. Chris states, “Baseball gives me a purpose, a drive. The only thing that motivates me is a challenge. If it is easy, I do not do it. Being a baseball player motivates me because I want to be an athlete who is good at baseball and school, and that is a challenge.”
During baseball season the Lowry brothers dedicate much of their time and energy toward playing the game. “It is a huge time commitment, especially if you want to be good at it. And I wanted to be good at it, so I would go at least two hours early to every practice,” Chris says. This hard work and dedication paid off in the Pirates’ last game of the season against Millsaps College when he cleared a homerun in the third inning. “There is a huge time commitment for practices and games, but what people do not recognize is the unofficial times when you just need to eat, rest your mind a little bit, and rest your body. It is those off times that people do not really account for,” Alan says.
Having played together their whole lives, being on a team with one another is like a well-oiled machine. Alan says he has realized that “instead of performing for your own reputation, you are performing for a combined reputation.” “It is no longer Chris and Alan, it is ‘the Lowrys,’” he says. “We become a package deal.”
Although they have played together their whole lives, after college the brothers plan to pursue different paths. While both are business majors, Chris is a math minor and has been accepted to four law schools, and Alan is a computer science minor and is in the process of finding a job with a technology firm.
Alan feels confident that his baseball experience will help him as he moves into the professional world. “Being a business major, I am going to be working with people for the rest of my life, and I involuntarily build those skills by interacting with my teammates every single day,” he says.
As constant academic and athletic role models for the rest of the baseball team, Chris and Alan Lowry question what their life will be like without baseball as their college experience comes to a close. “I do not know what I am going to do without baseball,” Chris says, “but at the same time I am taking away so much from this place that I am excited to see how that compares to everyone else out there, to see how I stack up against the rest of the world.”
Through all the wins and losses they have experienced, and as they look towards their future, Chris says the most rewarding feeling is standing on the bases after you get a hit, to which Alan responds, “Yes, that is the feeling.”