Josiah Takang (17) is a freshman at Mercer University, majoring in biomedical engineering on the pre-med track. (The jury remains out on whether this was a good idea.) A self-professed trivia nerd and long-suffering Atlanta sports fan, his love of sports began at a very young age. Born in West Metro Atlanta’s Braves Country to a talented former soccer player from the West African nation of Cameroon, Josiah’s fathomless love of sports first extended to soccer and baseball (two sports he began playing at the tender age of 4).
He grew up hearing his father watch World Cup matches, fuming at the seeming ineptitude of his home nation’s national team. Baseball came into his life growing up in Braves Country and became firmly embedded as he discovered and read the Baseball Encyclopedia, in the process starting his growth as a self-avowed “stats nerd” and boosting his trivia cred (the latter of which helped lead to the fulfillment of another lifelong dream, an appearance on Jeopardy!).
A chance gift (a signed Michael Waltrip hat) led to Josiah becoming his hometown of Douglasville’s biggest NASCAR fan (an accomplishment, considering the particular populace of the town), as well as a technical gearhead and stat hound for not only NASCAR but Indycar and the European flash of Formula One. To this day, his favorite driver remains Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose rise to stardom coincided with Josiah’s childhood. Unfortunately, Josiah’s NASCAR fandom has led to (somewhat friendly) derision from his friends, including some of the staff of this very publication. (You know who you are.)
Among those listed, Josiah is a huge NHL fan, formerly of the Thrashers. He refuses to root for the successor team in Winnipeg, who shall not be named. He now roots for the Canadiens of Montreal, the Dallas Stars and the Chicago Blackhawks. A rather diverse sports fan, Josiah’s latent Anglophilia leads him to root for England Rugby, the English National Soccer Team and Manchester United. The worlds of rugby, cricket, tennis and golf have also drawn Josiah, as he wakes up at 3 a.m. on occasion to catch international Test Cricket and World Rugby matches, as well as those of the Rugby English Premier League.
Culturally, the man is an enigma, crediting influences from the American South, his parents’ native West Africa and the British former colonizers of their home nation. (This might explain his aforementioned Anglophilia and love for rugby and cricket). Though he has not continued his pursuit of baseball and soccer at the collegiate level, he has continued to be active in the intramural and club programs of the respective sports. In his spare time, Josiah enjoys listening to music from well before he was born (John Denver, James Taylor, Carole King, and Loretta Lynn come to mind), in addition to country, acoustic and classical. He has an unhealthy love of NPR and is what normal people would call a “media junkie.” His middle name is objectivity, and anyone with that many news apps on their phone can’t be normal.
He spends Saturdays and Sundays suffering along with his Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Falcons and Manchester United Red Devils. In addition to baseball and soccer, Josiah has also played flag football, basketball, tennis, rugby (for Macon’s own Macon Love RFC) and ice hockey. Josiah’s future plans include being lucky enough to get into med school, where he hopes to become a successful surgeon-researcher. Some of his passions in life are science and changing the world, which he hopes to combine by also becoming an advocate for science education and awareness, and what he already tries to do by founding his own medical nonprofit.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
– Carl Sagan
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