Mike Strabavy knows the importance of speed.
The former Bishop Noll and Indiana State two-sport athlete earned recognition on the track and baseball field for his swiftness.
It also paid off when he had both sports going on at the same time.
"My senior year, 1988, we had a baseball game at Clark and the (Lake Shore) Conference track meet at Clark," Strabavy said. "I left in the third inning of the baseball game, changed into my track uniform and headed over to the long jump pit."
Strabavy won the long jump, was second in the 300-meter low hurdles and was on the winning 400-meter relay team. That relay team of David Olivencia, Joe Cetwinski, Strabavy and Rusty Setzer eventually went on to win the 1988 Indiana state title with a time of 42.36 seconds.
Strabavy competed in track and field at Indiana State for two years, then walked on to the Sycamores baseball team and played for three years. He was primarily used as a pinch-runner and pinch-hitter his first season, and started 100 of 120 games his next two seasons. Strabavy will be inducted into the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame on March 11. He joins his brother Tom, who was inducted in 2005.
"To me, going into the hall, that is the defining moment," Mike Strabavy said. "You never think about this when you are competing in high school or college, but this is a great honor ... I can't describe it. To think I am following in the footsteps of my brother Tom is a great feeling."
He did not play baseball at Noll until his senior year when asked by then-coach Jack Gabor.
"He and my track coach, Jim Tarka, had to work it out and I was able to do both," Strabavy said. "We had a schedule that if there was a baseball game, that took precedence. If there was a track meet, I went to that. Of course, there was the time at Clark when I got to do both in the same day."
Another moment sticks out and it was the 1988 (Lake Shore) Conference indoor meet at Bishop Noll.
"I won the long jump, 60- and 200-meter dashes, and was on the winning six-lap relay," Strabavy said. "I got MVP of the meet. That was something that I will never forget."
Strabavy and his wife, Dawn, will be married 11 years this week.
He is a cardiac rehabilitation exercise physiologist at Community Hospital in Munster and said his career gives him a sense of fulfillment.
"You get someone who comes from a procedure, maybe open-heart surgery, and sometimes they can barely walk to the door when they start their rehab," Strabavy said. "They go through rehab in the hospital, then come down to us and to see them a month or so later walking on a treadmill and coming in three times a week just makes you feel good.”
"I love working with senior citizens, but we work with younger people too."
He said he works with inpatients and outpatients. He loves working with patients to get them to better health.
"It is the exercise and education that the patients need to help them lead a healthier lifestyle," Strabavy said. "I have a very rewarding job and I love it."