COLUMBIA — As Parker Rawdon squats on the field during warmups at practice Friday, a soccer ball flies in from a teammate and hits him. He falls to the ground as teammate Adam McChesney smiles and says in a loud, low voice, "Big Daddy!"
Rawdon, a forward for Columbia College, is known by his teammates as "Big Daddy," but it's not because of his seniority or size — the Cougars senior is only a shade more than 5'9" and doesn't appear overly bulky.
Columbia College vs. Harris Stowe State
WHEN: 2 p.m. on Tuesday
WHERE: Harris Stowe State, St. Louis
Rawdon simply told people to call him by the nickname while playing darts one night before the season. He wrote "Big Daddy Park" on the board, and it stuck.
Teammate Trey Bristow said Rawdon jokes around with everyone on the team and doesn't pick favorites.
McChesney said Rawdon is known for being laid back. Teammates used to call him "Gummy Bear" because of how much he ate. Student assistant coach Alex Rangel said Rawdon eats "at least three plates of what everyone else is getting."
Rawdon acts silly while the team dances to what it calls the "girliest songs" in the locker room after wins. Teammates laugh at him when he's "thinking of different combinations he can use to spend $8 at Jack in the Box," goalkeeper Matt McKenna said.
But when the game starts, Rawdon is all business.
Rawdon knows his role with the team and said he tries to be a leader as much as he can.
"I might not be the most skilled guy out there, but I just try to be an option," Rawdon said.
Rawdon scored the only goal in the Cougars' win over Lindenwood University on Wednesday night. After a missed shot by a teammate, Rawdon said defender Brian Eike got the rebound and passed it. Rawdon was able to slide for the ball and score.
"He knew that he was going to have to score in big games," McChesney said.
Assistant head coach Jon Desha said Rawdon is making the most of his chances as the team approaches the postseason. In the second half of the season, the Cougars have struggled to score goals despite many good shots. Columbia College needs someone to take advantage of limited opportunities.
"He takes some things lightly, but when it's time to work, he works hard," Desha said. "I think Parker is the type of player that you want on your team."
Columbia College's last regular season game is against Harris Stowe State University at 2 p.m. Tuesday in St. Louis.
Rawdon said Columbia College is unlikely to receive an at-large bid to play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championships. Despite the team's record of 14-2-1, the Cougars likely need to win the American Midwest Conference tournament for a national championships bid.
Rawdon and the Cougars are confident right now after four straight wins. Like Rawdon, the Cougars will get serious in games but celebrate each win like goofy kids.
"We all are horrible at dancing," Rawdon said, "but you know, we're still going at it."