Mason Hodgson serves for the Brandon Volleyball Club during the 18U boys’ club provincials last weekend. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Mason Hodgson grew up with baseball in his blood, but the 17-year-old Brandonite is thinking of leaving the sport.
Hodgson has had a lot of success in baseball, making provincial teams and playing on Midget AA and AAA as well as Senior AA and AAA squads last season.
His father, Jamie Waddell-Hodgson, was a Kansas City Royals draft pick and played professional ball in the minor leagues before returning home to join the Manitoba Senior Baseball League’s Brandon Cloverleafs. Hodgson’s grandfather, Brian, was a member of Canada’s national baseball team in 1971 and was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.
Despite all that history, Hodgson, a the Grade 12 Neelin student, is thinking of playing volleyball in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference this fall.
"I could go to Alberta," Hodgson said. "I have a couple schools talking to me right now. They’re offering me partial and full scholarships. That’s a great option. There’s a lot of options at the schools that are talking to me. If that’s the route I take, I could go there and see where that takes me. Maybe transfer to a bigger school and play CIS eventually, or I could go there for a couple years and play baseball afterwards depending on what I want to do or where I want to be."
Hodgson has been loving life on the court this winter. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound middle helped Neelin win a bronze medal at the provincial AAA high school volleyball championship in November and played on the Brandon Volleyball Club team that finished sixth at the 18-and-under boys’ provincial club championship at the Healthy Living Centre last weekend.
Although he has offers on the table for volleyball, Hodgson is waiting until club nationals to make his decision. He knows all the coaches he has been talking to will be at nationals in Edmonton from May 9-11 and wants to meet with them in person before making up his mind.
However, he knows it could be a difficult decision to make as baseball season will be underway by then. Once again, Hodgson will play AA and AAA ball at the midget and senior levels and he’s on Neelin’s new baseball team, which will play an exhibition schedule this spring. He knows baseball season could make him fall back in love with the sport, which is why he’s still considering playing baseball next season or taking a year off before going to school to hit the diamonds.
Making a decision has been weighing on his mind all school year and it’s one he wants to make soon. Regardless of what he decides, Hodgson knows he’ll have the support of his family either way.
"My family and girlfriend have been pushing me to do something and do something I love to do," he said. "I love both sports and I don’t mind coming to the gym and going to the field early and staying late. It’s hard because I don’t know which one I want to play for potentially four or five years at the next level."
With the pressure building up and the school year nearing an end, Hodgson wants to put his mind at ease next month.
"I think in May I will have my decision," he said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 30, 2014