Travis Misner will only get about six hours to celebrate his 21st birthday next month.
But he's not feeling shortchanged in the least bit.
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In fact, the 2009 St. Charles North High School graduate and current Loras College junior will likely remember his 21st birthday for a long time to come.
That's because the South Elgin resident will spend the majority of his birthday on March 24 aboard an airplane headed from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Tokyo.
By the time Misner's feet touch the ground on Japanese soil, his birthday will have almost come to an end.
"With all of the time zone changes, my birthday will only be six hours long or so," said Misner. "I think Japan is 13-14 hours ahead of our time."
Misner will then depart Tokyo later that evening for Taiwan, where he will spend the final week of March as one of two U.S. representatives attending the International University Sport Federation Forum (FISU) in Chinese Taipei.
The conference, which is held every two years at different locations around the world, will include other athletes from around the globe on hand to discuss this year's theme -- "University Sport: A Platform for Sustainable Development."
"It's going to be interesting," said Misner, who will be joined by Andrea Dalton of NCAA Division II school Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
"We'll both talk about the NCAA and college athletes in the USA," added Misner. "We are the only country in the world that pairs higher education with athletics. We're the template for athletics and higher education."
The fact that Misner became one of the few representatives on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as a freshman two years ago was a stroke of good fortune for the right-handed pitcher on the Duhawks' baseball team.
"My pitching coach (Dan Wellik), who basically recruited me, and our then-new athletic director (Bob Quinn) said that the school was starting up a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and looking for an upperclassman and underclassman," recalled Misner.
"When they asked if I'd be interested, I said, 'absolutely,'" said Misner. "I was looking to build my resume.
"I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I wound up having a great time. I think I was the only freshman (on the SAAC)."
Last July, Misner became the new national SAAC representative from the Iowa Conference.
Born at the 1989 NCAA Conference in 1989, the SAAC group was split into division-specific committees in 1997. Its purpose is to offer input on rules, regulations, and policies that affect the lives of student-athletes.
"It is so much more than I expected," admitted Misner. "I figured it would be a bunch of tightwad kids but I was wrong. I've met some great people who I hope to be friends with for a long time."
While filling out an application for the FISU forum last fall, Misner actually thought he was applying to attend a leadership forum held annually in Chicago.
"I learned that it was completely different and a little more selective," said Misner, who was nominated by Loras AD Quinn (who was a longtime AD at Wheaton Warrenville South). "Mr. Quinn wrote a recommendation letter on my behalf, and I got a letter of recommendation from my academic adviser. I also had to write a personal letter."
Upon receiving word last month that he had cracked the top three, the finalists were subject to one final conference call.
In Misner's case, make it two conference calls.
"The first time, they never told me that it (the call) was scheduled for Eastern time (zone) so I missed it by an hour," he said. "They thought I blew it off."
Misner didn't feel the second conference call went a whole lot better.
"The timing was terrible because I was at O'Hare Airport and I was having problems with the reception on my phone," he said. "I thought I had no shot after that. I figured that I had done everything I could to be thrown under the bus."
Within a week, Misner was pleasantly surprised by the news.
"When I saw the email saying I had been selected, I was ecstatic," said Misner. "I called my Dad right away and wound up being 20 minutes late for class. My professor was very understanding after I said what had happened."
Due to injury problems, the 6-4, 240-pound Misner has yet to step onto the pitching mound at Loras.
As a freshman, Misner battled a dead arm due to impingement syndrome. "I eventually had an MRI and then an arthrogram that revealed nothing," he said. "I rehabbed throughout that summer."
It was more of the same shoulder pain for Misner when he returned for his sophomore year in the fall of 2010.
Last April, Misner received a cortisone shot from Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush Medical Center in Chicago.
"It worked for a couple months but then wore off," said Misner. "In September, I underwent surgery for a partially torn labrum."
Earlier this month, Misner resumed throwing with the team, which opens its season Feb. 29 against Central College in Winter Haven, Fla.
"All things are looking up," said Misner, who has shown great dedication and determination in his quest to return to the field.
"I haven't worked this hard to throw in the towel. I've already put in 2 ½ years -- I'm in too deep not to stick with it. Plus, I love my teammates and Loras College."
Misner, whose younger brother, Tim, is a junior at St. Charles North, knows very little about Chinese Taipei.
"People have told me that it is a very populous country with a lot of pollution in the streets," said Misner, who will get the opportunity for one sightseeing day. "I've heard that just about everyone is on bicycles and wearing masks.
"But I'm excited about the food."
Misner, who remains close with former North Stars teammates KC Wright, Mike Becker, and Zach Hirsch, among others, also holds a part-time job in Dubuque to help pay his tuition.
Last summer, the Physical Education/K-12 Teaching major and Coaching and Health Teaching minor served as head freshman baseball coach at Wahlert Catholic High School.
Misner already has an inkling as to what his dream job would be.
"I'd like to work for the NCAA," he said. "I think I'd really enjoy working in that type of environment. Those are some really great people."
Misner will be blogging throughout his trip and the links to his blogs can be found at www.ncaa.org.
You can reach Craig Brueske at email@example.com.