Jolene Good outpaces soccer injury to play right field for Blue Knights fastpitch softball.
Jolene Good, 21, doesn’t look her age. In fact, many people would believe that she just celebrated her 15th birthday.
“I get that a lot,” Good admitted with a grin. “My mom and boyfriend are always kidding me about how young I look.”
Despite her youthful appearance, Good has developed into the only two-sport athlete, male or female, at Dakota County Technical College. She played right midfielder for the Blue Knights women’s soccer team in 2007. She will handle right field duties for the women’s fastpitch softball team during the 2008 season.
An avid athlete as far back as she can remember, Good started playing softball when she was six years old. “I played on coed teams and we wore jerseys that hung down to our ankles,” she said. “I don’t know why the coach couldn’t find shirts that would fit us. I still have one of the jerseys and it actually fits normally now.”
Good was born in Minneapolis and considers Minnesota’s largest city her hometown. Her family moved to Duluth shortly before she turned seven. When she was old enough, she began attending Duluth East, home of the Greyhounds and eventually her high school alma mater.
“In high school, I competed in swimming and track,” she said. “I swam the 200-meter freestyle on the varsity swim team. I was a sprinter in track and ran the 100-meter dash and 4×200 relay. I also competed in the triple jump and long jump.”
Attracted to a wide range of sports, Good has also tried her skill in speedskating, tennis, and dance—the latter mostly in the form of jazz and tap, but only as starting points.
“I’m thinking about taking classes in hip hop and breakdancing,” she said. “I’ve been to a few underground breakdancing competitions in Minneapolis and that style of dance is pretty cool.”
“I was running down the field when I heard my knee pop. I was screaming before I hit the ground.”
After graduating from high school, Good decided to pursue a degree in child development at DCTC. “I love kids,” she said. “They’re my huge passion. But I’m also passionate about the medical field.”
Good soon redirected her energy and enrolled in the college’s Medical Assistant program. She had previously explored a career as an emergency medical technician and felt that the program’s focus on patient care management would mesh perfectly with her long-term goals.
“I’m working a couple jobs now, one as a PC, or program counselor, and one as a PCA, or personal care assistant,” she said. “As a PCA, I work with a 10-year-old boy who’s dealing with behavioral issues. My job as a PC involves the daily care of four medically disabled children. I’m just getting to know them and they’re really sweet kids.”
Patrice Nadeau, a medical assistant instructor at the college, notes that Good is making excellent progress in Anatomy and Physiology, a 4-credit course required for her A.A.S. degree.
“The Medical Assistant program will prepare Jolene for work in a medical clinic,” Nadeau added. “Working closely with physicians and patients, most graduates perform multiple duties, including tasks that involve medical histories, medication updates, vital signs, injections, minor procedures, laboratory testing, x-rays, scheduling and phone work.”
Even with her responsibilities as a soccer player, Good excelled in the classroom, earning a cumulative 3.6 GPA, an achievement that got her named as a first-team member of the 2007-2008 Academic All-Region Team.
Good’s soccer season slashed to a halt last September during a game in Nebraska. “I was running down the field when I heard my knee pop,” she recalled. “I was screaming before I hit the ground. I thought I had broken my leg.”
As it turned out, she had completely torn the anterior cruciate ligament , or ACL, in her right knee. Located in the center of the knee joint, the ACL is one of four major ligaments in the knee and plays a key stabilizing role.
She could have hitched a ride home with a teammate who was returning to Minnesota for a wedding, but she decided to stay and support her team through the weekend.
“I didn’t have surgery until the first week in November,” she said. “I had to wait for the swelling to go down. I also had to prepare for surgery by doing physical therapy designed to strengthen the muscles of my leg. I’m just finishing up postoperative therapy and have already been practicing with my softball team.”
Seth Smith, the fastpitch softball team’s new head coach, regards Good as a splendid addition to his lineup. When Smith first met Good as a student in fall semester 2007, he started calling her “JG,” a nickname that was soon picked up by her friends at DCTC.
“Jolene is not only a fantastic student, but also a very inspirational athlete,” Smith said. “To return from such a severe injury with such strong dedication is truly amazing. The softball program is very fortunate to have her.”
Good appreciates the opportunity to compete in one of her favorite sports. “One thing I love about softball is that you really do depend on your team members—maybe more than in any other sport,” she said. “It doesn’t always matter how good you are; you need the person batting behind you to get you home.”
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the girls on this team,” she continued. “I know that we will represent DCTC in a positive way this spring.”
Even though Good is thoroughly attuned to a metropolitan lifestyle, she recently relocated to Northfield, Minn., a two-college town about 20 miles south of Rosemount.
“I moved to Northfield to be closer to my boyfriend, Caleb McGuire,” she said. “Caleb’s a graduate of DCTC’s Multimedia and Web Design program, but I didn’t meet him on campus. He’s also a musician, and we met when he became the bass player for Aiming for Aurora, an alternative rock band I know from St. Paul.”
For Good, adjusting to the slower pace of life in a small town has had its moments. “The first time I drove to DCTC from my place in Northfield, I was surprised by all the cows along the highway,” she said with a playful smile. “But I guess I’m getting used to them now.”
Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs(CAAHEP), on recommendation of the Curriculum Review Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants’ Endowment (AAMAE), the Medical Assistant program produces multi-skilled graduates wholly equipped to assist in professional patient care management. The program entails a one-year commitment that includes a seven-week, unpaid externship in the final semester.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical assistants is projected to grow much faster than average over the next decade, making the occupation one of the fastest growing in the United States. Job opportunities are considered excellent, specifically for medical assistants with formal training and national certification.
The education and employment Web site, iseek.org, lists the average hourly wage at $15.01 for medicals assistants in Minnesota, with top earners in the Twin Cities seven-county metro area making close to $20 an hour.
The Blue Knights fastpitch softball team practices at the Irish Sports Dome, a premier indoor facility in Rosemount, Minn. Home games are played at Erickson Park, also in Rosemount. The 2008 fastpitch softball schedule begins at the Rainy River Invitational on March 28 & 29 at the Irish Sports Dome.
In addition to Head Coach Seth Smith, the coaching staff includes Michelle Harrison, the team’s pitching coach, and Kari Hudson, the hitting coach.
“Fastpitch softball at DCTC is seeing strong growth,” reported Smith. “I encourage any full-time female student to sign up and participate in this exciting team sport.”