Older brothers forced Clinton High's Cody Risseeuw to hone his athletic skills
CLINTON Growing up with older brothers, Cody Risseeuw was forced to develop his athletic skills at an early age.
Jake, the oldest of the brothers, was seven years older than Cody while Nick was four years—and five grade levels—ahead.
Nonetheless, Cody quickly became a part of pickup football and driveway basketball games in Clinton.
"They always had me outside, pushing me around and stuff like that," Risseeuw said after wrapping up a baseball scrimmage on Thursday. "Basketball in the driveway was definitely the mainstay, but we played a ton of football on the cement and baseball in the summers."
It should come as no surprise, then, that younger brother eventually started exceeding the skill level for most kids his age.
He also developed disgust for losing.
"When I was coaching his brother's Little League team, Cody would be in the playground as a like a 4- and 5-year-old," Clinton baseball coach Scott Cernek said. "I've known Cody and his family and watched him grow up. I've seen him take on the expectations.
"I think a lot of it is just his tenacity to compete. Obviously he's got athletic skills, physically. But his heart is tremendous as far as competing goes. He doesn't accept defeat."
Risseeuw has three Rock Valley South Conference basketball championships and two baseball titles to show for that.
He's also got the all-time scoring record at Clinton High in boys basketball, topping Jack Reeder's record. Perhaps as a sign that he wasn't fixated on the final official number, Risseeuw didn't know his exact career total, only that he was within a few baskets of getting to 1,500 points.
"There's been a lot of good players to go through Clinton High School," he said. "It means a lot to get the scoring record. My grandpa actually knew (Reeder), and I got to talk to him personally, so it was a good experience just to go through all that."
Basketball has been Risseeuw's favorite sport for some time. He played football until he reached high school, but gave it up after assessing that it wouldn't help him reach his goal of earning a basketball scholarship at the next level.
That goal was reached last month when he decided he'd attend Division II Bemidji (Minn.) State on a basketball scholarship.
"I kind of wanted to get away from home, but I didn't think I'd be going that far," Risseeuw said. "It's a cool town—not too big, not too small. The campus is beautiful. Then the scholarship offer was just great. I couldn't turn it down."
Risseeuw hopes to compete for playing time right away.
First things first, however, he'll wrap up his high-school career with his fourth season of varsity baseball. He'll be the Cougars' top pitcher when their delayed season finally starts.
"He could (play anywhere)," Cernek said. "He's played first and short, second his freshman year—left field, center field. He'll probably pitch and play first base mostly this year.
"Basketball is his love, but he's given us a great effort here in baseball. He'll log some innings and keep us in games."
"This is my last high-school sport," Risseeuw said. "We expect to really improve. We've got a lot of holes, but I think a lot of kids are going to step up and do great things."
He also might squeeze in a few more pickup games with Cody and Nick before the move to Minnesota. After all, little brother is no longer getting picked on.
"It's not quite as fair as it used to be," Risseeuw said with a laugh.