Exercise science major Ryan Cali counts himself among the lucky ones in life.
The San Jose, Calif., native has had amazing mentors in his father, his brother, and his coach.
Cali's father, C.J., has always been there for him in every possible way he could.
“My dad has had a great impact on helping me pursue and reach my goals,” says Cali. “He's always supported me in my sporting career.”
Though he greatly appreciates it, support isn't the only thing Cali's father has provided. Guidance and important life lessons are also among the gifts his father passed along.
“My dad coached me on numerous teams,” he says. “I played soccer for seven or eight years growing up and baseball my senior year in high school. If my dad was not coaching me, he would always be at the games cheering for my team. His positive attitude and the way he's admired by his peers is something that I try every day to emulate.”
Cali also counts his brother, Kevin, as having a lasting impact in his life.
The two brothers were fortunate enough to play together during the same high school baseball season, once Kevin convinced Ryan to join the team their father coached.
As it turns out, the experience taught Cali more than he initially thought it would.
“My brother excelled in his sports and academics, and his success pushed me to do better because I'm competitive and want to give him a good run for his money,” Cali says with a smile. “I think we do a good job of pushing each other while also helping each other out.”
Lastly, Cali credits his success to his basketball coach, Shanan Rosenberg.
“I've been with Coach Rose the past three years now and he has had a huge impact on my life. Whether it's basketball or the relationships that a person has with their friends and family, there have been so many lessons that I've learned from him. I'm really grateful to have him in my life.”
Cali also credits Rosenberg with being a major factor in his decision to attend Linfield College.
“I wanted to pursue playing basketball at a school where I knew the coach, would get a good education and could also be part of a community as friendly and welcoming as Linfield is.”
Though he calls himself lucky, Cali encountered some difficulties in finding his way to Linfield.
“I've definitely taken a unique path to get here. I didn't make the basketball team at my first school, Redlands. I ended up back in the Bay Area for school for a while, before finally deciding on Linfield, which makes it my third school in four years. I'm glad to have taken the less obvious path and to have ended up at Linfield.”
Going hand-in-hand with his sports-focused life, Cali admits to having a passion for weight training.
“It's something I started the summer after my freshman year and have been consistent with ever since. I've gotten my friends and teammates into it too. I've helped spread my knowledge onto them. They continue to want workouts from me or want to lift with me in the summer.”
Cory Hendryx is one such teammate, and he has no shortage of compliments for Cali.
“Ryan is constantly in the gym and the weight room trying to improve himself and is always making everyone around him want to work harder,” says Hendryx. “He's had an amazingly positive impact from the day that he stepped foot on the Linfield campus.”
Those who know Cali away from the basketball floor talk about his quiet demeanor. Yet once the ball is tipped off, everything changes.
“Off the court,” says teammate Chris Crowell, “Cali is very calm, cool, and collected. But on the court, he's a born leader. He's one of the few members of our team who knows where people should be at all times and is not afraid to make his opinion known.”
All the way around, Cali is developing himself into a great man. For Crowell, it's easy to understand why.
“He's a true teammate, a humble worker, and a fiery competitor.”