Last week, after an ordinary practice with his Mavericks baseball team, Missoula's Shane Olson received an extraordinary phone call.
"It was coach Fergus calling me from Washington and I answered it,” said Olson. “He was just small-talking me like how's it going and how was practice. And then he asked if I still wanted to be a Husky. I was pretty speechless at that point and said 'Yeah... yeah I do, I would really like that.'"
Upon reaching his goal of earning a scholarship to become a Washington Husky baseball player, there was one person Shane needed to see immediately: his trainer and mentor Steve Pfahler.
"I was a little worried since it was so late,” recalls Pfahler of the night Olson stopped by the gym (Pfahler Sport Specific). “But then he walked in the door with a huge smile on his face and I jumped out my chair to give him a big hug. I teared up in front of him and I was so happy for him and so relieved."
The path to division one baseball is not easy for anyone, but the road for Olson has bumpier than most. He had hand surgery in eighth grade, left knee surgery freshman year of high school, right knee surgery his sophomore year and ankle surgery his senior year.
"A high school kid should not have to persevere through as much as he had had to persevere," said Pfahler.
"It sucks having to rehab, rehab, and rehab,” said Olson. “If I didn't love the game as much as I do then I probably would have given up three surgeries ago but now I get to go play baseball at the next level so it's definitely worth it."
Of course Olson is not the first current Maverick to commit to a PAC-12 baseball program; his teammate and best friend will now become his rival as Slade Heggen will play next year at Oregon.
"He's pushed me and I wouldn't be at UO without him and he wouldn't be at UW without me, that's just kind of how we've worked," said Heggen.
"It's going to be awesome, I'm going to make sure I'm there the first time those two play each other,” said Pfahler of Heggen and Olson who have been both working out with Steve since before he had his own gym. “They won't be teammates anymore and they can have that one game a year where they don't like each other."
"When he steps up into the box and I'm catching, I'm going to call a 90 mile and hour fastball in the ribs," smiled Heggen.
"I'll be expecting the bean ball first pitch guaranteed," responded Olson.
"Have to give him a taste from all the years of him hitting me, or just being Shane," said Heggen.
No matter what happens for Olson over the next few years in Washington, going from Missoula to PAC-12 baseball is an accomplishment he can always be proud of.
"Being able to accomplish a goal like that is something that I'll be able to tell my kids and my kids' kids about,” said Olson. “It’s going to be something that's really cool and I get to live with that for the rest of my life, and I'm really excited about it."