Big 12 Campus Correspondent
When Nebraska baseball senior D.J. Belfonte weighed his summer options, something became apparent. While his passion primarily lays in baseball, he decided to spend time discovering another important part of his life.
Belfonte spent the summer of 2009 interning at a Kansas City, Mo. law firm. The two-time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 honoree in finance decided that while his time playing summer baseball would be beneficial, a decision to step into the real world might pay bigger dividends for his future.
“It was something I felt like I needed to do to get exposed to the real world a little bit,” Belfonte said. “It was a neat experience, and I am thankful I got that opportunity. It was kind of nice to take a step back from baseball and come out to appreciate it a little bit more.”
The time away from baseball helped Belfonte in more ways than just increasing his knowledge and experience of the field he wants to go into some day. A broader perspective of the game means that he is able to deal with the highs and lows of the sport better.
“I think I matured a little bit; you begin to block out the irrelevant things that go on during the season,” he said. “It’s a long year so when you get frustrated over a year or two, you realize it’s immature and there are plenty of games to be played. You have to keep an eye on what you’ve worked so hard on in the offseason.”
Belfonte entered the 2010 season as the undoubted veteran on the Husker squad. He had started 157 games in his Husker career and was known for his patience at the plate and knack for getting on base in a number of ways. He ranked second on Nebraska’s career list with 42 hit-by-pitches and could become just the second Husker to lead NU in stolen bases for three straight years.
“I am just a hard-nosed player and I’m going to do whatever I can to win,” Belfonte said. “I am a little vocal at times; I say what is on my mind. I may show my feelings a little too much, but that is how I’ve always been and is how I play the game.”
Belfonte’s relaxed approach applies to everything in his life. He is a six-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and earned the 2008 UNL Hero Award. With all of this on his plate, he credits much of his success to the support around him.
“The support system here is top of the line,” he said. “The people at the Hewitt are here to support you and help you achieve any goals you may have for yourself. It’s huge for me, and we have a lot to be thankful for.”
For Belfonte, the accolades will mean nothing at the end of his Husker career. Behind the titles and awards he wants to be known for one thing - doing what he could to help his team succeed through all situations.
“I just wanted to come into this program and leave a mark and know that I met the expectations of what they wanted out of me,” Belfonte said. “I poured my heart into what I’ve done here and I know it’s not always been the easiest process, but I am trying to leave a lasting impression during my senior year.”