From Painting to Fishing: Members of Loyola Athletics Teams Share Their Hobbies

Men's basketball guard Paxson Wojcik poses with a fish during a childhood fishing trip with his family.

When they’re not shooting hoops or spiking the ball, Loyola student-athletes don’t just spend the rest of their time with their noses in the books. Rather, many have hobbies just like any other person. 

Women’s volleyball middle blocker Elle Van Grinsven likes to spend her time watercolor painting. Meanwhile, men’s basketball guard Paxson Wojcik can often be found with a fishing pole when he’s not in the gym. 

Wojcik said he spent most of his summer alongside a body of water in hopes for a good catch. 

“Fishing has kind of been an outlet for me,” Wojcik said. “I remember when I was younger, I used to go with my dad and with my grandfather and my uncles a lot. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always been into it.” 

It’s something he said he found relaxing, not just fishing, but also spending time outdoors.

He said both sides of his family have an affinity toward fishing, and because his mom grew up in Seattle, they’d spend time fishing in the Puget Sound when visiting her relatives. He said his dad lived on the other side of the country on the Ohio River — another popular fishing location for the Wojcik’s. 

While some fish for sport, Wojcik said that’s not the goal when he’s out on the water. 

“I will have to say I’m not the best at actually catching fish,” Wojcik said. “I just really enjoy the whole process of being out there in nature.  Setting up your music on the speaker and just enjoying the good weather or enjoying good conversations with friends and family.”

Much like Wojcik’s familial ties to his hobby, Van Grinsven began painting because her mom is an art teacher. Instead of trucks and dolls, Van Grinsven said she and her siblings were given markers and paints.

“In her head, she thought that all of her kids were all going to be like these cool artists when we were older,” Van Grinsven, 22, said. “It turns out we all played collegiate sports, but we all do kind of have sort of like an art hobby.” 

Van Grinsven’s passion for watercolor painting didn’t start until her sophomore year at Loyola. She said it was a way to decompress after long days of school and practice. 

Starting with printer paper and drug store watercolors, Van Grinsven said she upgraded the following Christmas when her mom was appalled by her daughter’s supplies. She was gifted with “proper, nice” supplies to continue fueling her hobby. 

As a fairly religious person, Van Grinsven said most of her art includes Bible verses or quotes. 

“During quarantine, it became a super awesome way [to share my passion,]” Van Grinsven said. “We had so much time on our hands and nowhere to go. So I was painting a lot more [and] sending stuff to people. It’s really fun because the people that received this stuff were super encouraged by it.”

Elle Van Grinsven’s shows her water color paintings for teammate Addie Barnes.

Van Grinsven said one of her favorite pieces was one she did for a family friend. It was bigger piece of art and now hangs on their wall, something that Van Grinsven said always puts a smile on her face when she sees it in their house. 

She said her other favorite works are little greeting cards she gives to friends. 

“It’s like a card and it [says] ‘a sweet friendship refreshes the soul,’” Van Grinsven said. “I think even if people who are receiving it don’t have a faith background they can still relate like having a really good friend is refreshing and brings joy to them.” 

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