DELAND, Fla. - It’s a routine practice for the Stetson Hatters. Fielders field, hitters hit. The idea that this moment is even possible is still hard to fathom for Jackson Olson.
"I had no idea what was going to happen on March 13," the Hatters infielder said. "I’m like 'what is going to happen?' And it’s 70 degrees, and we’re about to play in three days."
It has been a long road to this point. He was a former shortstop at the University of Hartford who transferred into Stetson, but the pandemic put everything on hold. But he spent most of lockdown on social media, diving into the world of popular social media app Tik Tok in the process.
"I checked it the next day, and the next day, and I just started watching videos. And I decided this is something I wanna do. I wanna make videos," he said.
So an infielder became an unexpected content creator. Looking for his sweet spot.
"All these people know what they’re doing, they had a niche. And I didn’t really know what mine was going to be," Olson said. "And I kind of figured out through making videos who I was as a person and I kind of found myself."
His teammate Austin Dilbert saw it firsthand.
"He’s got multiple sides to his personality," Dilbert said. "He’s not just a college athlete. But he’s a showman as well."
Showmanship, in fact, became his niche.
"Someone on the train, when I was going to visit one of my friends, was like 'hey, you’re the "Greatest Showman" guy.' And I was like, 'how did you know that, I’m not even wearing the costume how did you know that," Olson said.
He became a viral sensation, sporting a red coat and top hat in honor of the 2017 film "The Greatest Showman." He had never been much of a performer before, but the videos resulted in hundreds of thousands of views, all enough to catch the attention of one new teammate who was busy making videos himself: Dilbert.
"We both were kind of doing our own things and now we’re working together," Dilbert said. "And it’s working out."
The two collaborate on videos now, usually humorous baseball skits or even more theatricality.
"The movie 'High School Musical,' Olson said. "We recreated a scene from that. And it went viral viral. And obviously some teammates are going to be like that’s stupid or whatever, but some came up to us and were like 'hey, this video is sick.'"
It’s the right combo that makes a new Hatter a perfect fit.
"That changed everything I think, getting him, getting someone else that had the same drives to make videos was awesome," Olson said. "Especially on my same team, same baseball team. We just came together and it was so exciting to start."
It’s affirmation as to who Jackson Olson really is. A showman on the field and off of it.
"I like my videos because I like making them and I like making people smile," Olson said. "It’s not about getting famous or any of that. And if that comes with it great, but if not, I’m gonna keep making the same videos."