CofC Faces to Know: Freddie Lipata

CofC Faces to Know: Freddie Lipata

Name: Freddie Lipata

Hometown: Olongapo City, Philippines

Education: College of Charleston

Job title: Assistant Director, Campus Recreation Services

How long have you worked at the College? I came in as a student in 2002 and started working as a student official with intramural sports for Campus Recreation Services – I can’t seem to leave.

What are your job responsibilities? I’m mainly responsible for our Intramural Sports Program for students and the Johnson Gymnasium, but our department consists of only three staff members – Mr. (Gene) Sessoms, Bucky Buchanan, and myself, so we try to help each other out as much as possible with all things CRS. I also try to keep our social media accounts updated and produce game/highlight videos for our YouTube channel. If you’ve ever been to any of our Faculty/Staff Bowling and Softball League games, you’ve probably seen me there. Mr. Sessoms was nice enough to trust me with supervising those once he did all the behind the scenes work to get them rolling.

Freddie Lipata, left, playing a game of rec volleyball. (Photos by Heather Moran)

What do you like most about your job? I’m not a morning person so the fact that it starts later in the day is a big plus. I’m not sure if I’d still be around if I had to be here at 8:30 or 9 a.m. every day. Having a job involving sports doesn’t hurt either. Sports have been a very big part of my life ever since we moved here from the Philippines. Even though I didn’t really speak that much English when we got here, the way basketball and volleyball are played is mostly the same no matter where in the world the court is, so it definitely helped me adjust faster. I’ve met most of my friends and acquaintances from playing in various basketball and volleyball pick-up games, leagues and tournaments. I am hoping to do the same for our students. They could meet so many of their peers and possibly create friendships and connections with people that can be part of their lives forever. They just have to take the first step and come down to see us.

What question do you get asked most in your job and what’s your typical answer? Do you know where this is (referring to a specific room)? NOPE. Just kidding. I usually show them where to go. The Johnson/Silcox Gym is a maze and the setup can be confusing since Campus Rec shares the space with EHHP (the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance), Athletics, and now, Kids On Point. It is also connected to the TD Arena, which adds to a lot of the confusion.

What’s your favorite location on campus and why? Just because I’ve spent most of my time here, I would have to say the Johnson Gymnasium. Weird to say, but this place is pretty much my 2nd home. I’ve done a lot of growing up in this place. I just can’t seem to leave since I walked in to play basketball as a student in 2002. Would you believe that I offered to work for free when one of the former staff members brought me in Mr. Sessoms’ office?

Finish this sentence: “The College should…” Have the next back to school picnic outdoors!

What are your hobbies? I love playing sports. Basketball used to dominate my time, but it has slowly transitioned to volleyball. These days, I probably play at least twice a week. I also got hooked on fishing. I went to check out the Mt. Pleasant Pier last year and I’ve become a regular since then. The retirees that fish there regularly are always joking that by the time I am old enough to retire, I should be a pro … not with fishing though.

What personal and/or professional accomplishment are you most proud of? Getting through chemo treatments in 2014 and 2015 without letting it affect my life too much was probably a big thing. Wanting to go to work and other things gave me a reason to get up every morning and helped keep my mind off having Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

On a fun note, I was finally able to attend my first USAV Adult Volleyball Nationals this past May in Texas. If you like playing indoor volleyball, USAV Adult Nationals is probably one of the best events you can go to with your friends and enjoy a couple of days’ worth of playing volleyball. A friend and I also won our division during this past summer’s Crown 3v3 Grass Volleyball Tournament with only two people. We won the first set with three players, but our third player had to leave after to take his wife to the doctor, and we were left to play two against three for the rest of the match. We lost the second set by a lot, but won the tie breaker 15-12. There’s no video evidence, but that was one of the best games of volleyball I’ve ever played. We got a shirt and a Party Rocker Plus to show for it.

Name a creative work (book, movie, performance, etc.) you enjoyed recently and why? I was actually interested in watching The Greatest Showman when it first came out, but never got the chance to. I finally got to see it a couple of weeks ago at home, and I really enjoyed it. I’m not going to try and ruin it for people, but if you haven’t seen it and plan on doing so, just watch and let it entertain you. Try not to think too much that it’s not the exact life story of P.T. Barnum and that the main character is Wolverine from the X-Men movies.

What was your favorite TV show growing up? We lived close to a U.S. Air Force Base in the Philippines and were able to pick up the American channel, so I was actually watching G.I. Joe, Transformers, Gladiators, etc. when I was a kid. When we moved to the United States, I found myself watching Saved by the Bell, Family Matters, Boy Meets World and Step by Step to try and learn how to fit in as an American teenager.

What’s next on your bucket list? I don’t really have a bucket list, but I do have a couple places I want to go to! I want to make it to next year’s USAV Adult Nationals in Ohio, eat a beignet and chargrilled oysters in New Orleans, and I want to go back to the Philippines to see family. We’ve only gone back once since we moved here in 1994. That was in 2000 – and that is too long.

 What is something your campus colleagues would be surprised to know about you? I am “married” by way of common-law. I have a piece of paper to prove it.

 What was your first job? Not sure if it counts, but I got paid to cut a family friend’s yard one time. I also sold running shoes and apparel at a friend’s store, but the first job where I actually had to interview and didn’t know anybody was at the Charleston IMAX during the summer of 2008.

What’s your favorite Lowcountry restaurant? I’m a very complicated person, so I’m probably going to give you a complicated answer. My splurge meal would probably be a night at Hall’s Chophouse, but I’d probably go broke eating there regularly. I’m the most comfortable going to Mei Thai in North Charleston for some Filipino cuisine (when my mom is not here visiting) or going to Dave’s Carry-Out on the corner of Morris and Coming streets and asking what they have cooking in the pot.


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