Central Michigan doesn't have an ice-hockey team.
That didn't stop one Chippewas student-athlete from lacing up the skates this weekend — and going viral in the process.
Chase Rollin, an infielder/outfielder for the Central baseball team, starred in a 30-second video, shot Saturday at a completely iced-over field at Theunissen Stadium on campus in Mount Pleasant.
Rollin, a red-shirt sophomore from Beal City, is called a "versatile talent" on the athletic-department's website, and, well, no kidding. He put on some skates and proceeded to race out to shortstop to take several groundballs, even diving from a few. He also worked on his "base-running," though he showed off his lack of skating skills with a wobbly turn around second base. Friends took to calling him a "bender."
But, hey, at least he stayed upright. And, as his Twitter hashtag said, "#findawaytogetreps".
"I was trying not to get hurt there, honestly," he said over the phone Monday night, laughing, and adding that he had maybe gone ice skating once in the past several years. "I was asking (my roommate), 'Matt, how am I supposed to turn?
"That's the funny part. People, like I don't know the lingo for hockey, but they were calling me a 'bender,' which apparently means not good."
Rollin got the idea for the video following practice Saturday. One of the last ones there, he took a walk outside and saw all that ice — and, always thinking of social-media ideas (years ago, he tried to become a hit on Vine), he found this scene much too cool to pass up. So he called his roommate, Matt Milbourne, and asked him to bring his ice skates to the stadium. Rollin's brother, Ty, a fifth-year senior on the baseball team, participated in the production, too.
The video, first posted on Twitter by Rollin (@Chase_Rollin), has been viewed more than 1 million times on Rollin's account alone, amazing given he has a modest 934 followers. It later was reposted by several national outlets, including Major League Baseball and the NCAA, and the clip even later surfaced on ESPN's "SportsCenter." It made its way onto Instagram and Facebook, and all told, it has topped 4 million views.
"I thought it was gonna be more like my 15 minutes of fame," Rollin said after a practice at the Indoor Athletic Complex. "Now it's turning into a couple days here. But it's probably gonna be over soon."
Central Michigan, under first-year head coach Jordan Bischel, opens the season Friday at Troy. The Chippewas don't play a home game until March 26 against Grand Valley State, assuming Mount Pleasant has thawed by then.