April 11, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – By Stacey Freyer, Ohio State Athletics Communications

A family is valuable. Support, love, strength and hope are given through the loved ones who surround you. Ohio State’s John Albertson, a Ballwin, Mo., native, has held his family as a special value throughout his life. Now the 6-foot-6-inch freshman middle blocker for the Buckeyes not only looks to the influence and love of his immediate family but to his newly formed brothers on the court.

Growing up with his parents, Larry and Sue, and his younger sister, Sarah, Albertson has developed his own unique traits from his parents and the big brother duty of watching over Sarah.

“My family is very important to me,” Albertson said. “My sister is two years younger. She is a senior in high school and I feel I need to watch out for her. My mom is really caring and she always took care of me. She gave me my nice side I guess you would say. One of the main differences of being away from home is only hearing her voice on the phone instead of being able to talk to her every day in person.”

Albertson saw his father as the stricter of his parents and the enforcer of the house but will always look up to him as a big influence and a motivator. He has watched his dad through the years run each day and never let up for anything, which has given Albertson the determination of his father.

“My dad has been on a running streak that he’s been doing since around 1996,” Albertson said. “He’s been running for like 10 years straight and runs every single day through the sleet and everything.”

With the motivation from his father and the desire and dedication his dad posses, Albertson hopes to be much like him.

“My dad never pushed me to do things I did not want to and has always supported me in whatever I wanted to do,” Albertson said.

The one thing Albertson’s parents did push upon him was education.

“Education was always really big to them,” Albertson said. “They made me study all the time and made me really stay on top of my grades.”

The pressure of keeping up his grades paid off for him being the first of his immediate family to attend college and he has not stopped there. Albertson has been named an Ohio State scholar-athlete and hopes to take his time at Ohio State to become finance major.

“Playing on the court has given me experience with teamwork and problem solving experiences,” Albertson said. “I also like math.”

Being part of the team has given Albertson skills for his future along with overcoming the difficulty of living 400 miles from home. With his parents and sister back in Missouri, Albertson uses his teammates as a second family.

“Since I am from St. Louis I really don’t have anybody else out here so I look to my team for all my support,” Albertson said. “My family is the most influential but my teammates are very influential too. Most of the older guys have provided guidance towards how to be a student-athlete at Ohio State and how to balance social life, grades and volleyball. They are a second family to me.”

Albertson, who misses his favorite home cooked meal of meatloaf and broccoli and cheese, is not the only Buckeye in his situation. Thirteen of the 17 players on the team live outside Ohio and use the support and friendship of their teammates to turn to in a time of need.

“It just kind of occurred naturally because there are so many players from outside of Ohio,” Pete Hanson, Ohio State head coach, said. “Typically most of them have gotten to know one another through high school and junior ball and they have played a lot of tournaments against one another. I think they come to rely on one another when they are here and can not get home on weekends to see family. They do become that second family. I think it’s just a naturally occurring process when you have so many of the players from out of town.”

Through the unconditional support and love of his family Albertson became the strong-willed, intelligent, athletic, scholar-athlete he is today. With the guidance and influence of his Ohio State teammates, a second family has been formed with a bond just as strong as the one with his family that helped get him there.

Albertson has played in 26 matches this season with 23 starts. He leads the Buckeyes in blocking with a 1.42 blocks per game average with seven solos and 115 assists and is the top percentage hitter on the squad at .405. He is averaging 3.33 points and 2.53 kills on the season. In the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, Albertson ranks second in the conference in blocking at 1.52 per game, fourth in hitting percentage at .419 and is 17th in kills per game at 2.52.