Team Jeremy — an enterprise featuring an educator, singer, songwriter, trumpeter, guitarist and a funny guy dressed in a purple-and-black costume — is a high-energy, motivational firm that manages to succeed with a surprisingly small staff. In fact, it operates with only one very outgoing, personable and agile employee with an ingratiating smile.
Meet multitalented Jeremy Sharfe, who manages to find enough hours in the day to instruct at-risk students in the Jefferson County High School alternative program at Doss High School, perform nearly 125 acoustic shows a year in a duo known as Timmy & Sharfe and make frequent visits to Nashville, Tenn., to perform at the world famous Bluebird Cafe during open-mic nights.
And in two days, when the umpire cries "Play ball!" to start the 2009 Triple-A baseball season at Louisville Slugger Field, Sharfe will commence his seventh season as Buddy Bat — the fun-loving mascot of the Louisville Bats.
"It's a job I truly love! A dream job! I love the people I work with at the ballpark," he says, "from the front office to the players, coaches and manager to the (clubhouse attendants), ushers and fans. I especially enjoy running through the stands and being playful with the children," said Sharfe, who is equally passionate about his musical career.
Sharfe, a 30-year-old dynamo from Louisville who graduated from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and a minor in marketing, says, "I don't think of music as a job, but I guess it is...I'm blessed to get paid to play music. I love music, and I'm addicted to it. However, I love my other jobs working at Doss and performing as Buddy Bat."
At Doss, Sharfe multitasks full time as a tutor, instructor and mentor and is responsible for monitoring and engaging students and keeping their attendance and grade levels up.
"I don't teach. I motivate students to do something in their lives they love. It's challenging but rewarding," said Sharfe, who considers history his specialty. Doss is his alma mater.
He even finds time to pursue his music career on game days prior to donning his Buddy Bat outfit. He and his singing partner, Timmy Lickteig, frequently perform a mix of blues, rock, country, Southern rock and originals from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and occasionally Fridays on the Overlook Deck.
Sharfe plays the piano, guitar, mandolin, trumpet and a "wicked" harmonica.
"During my trips to Nashville, I've been working on a solo songwriting career focusing strictly on country music. There's been some serious interest in my music...," says Sharfe, a fan of Garth Brooks, Keith Urban and Shooter Jennings.
While the baseball season's first pitch hasn't even been tossed, Sharfe already is looking ahead to his favorite home game of the year: Military Appreciation Day on Memorial Day, May 25, when at least 1,500 soldiers in basic training will arrive in their fatigues and fill the seats in right field.
"I crowd-surf with the soldiers, and they pass me along hand over hand. Then I'll sign autographs as Buddy Bat for almost an hour. They like it, and I love it," he says.
The role of Buddy Bat has a life of its own not only on the field and in the stands but outside the ballpark as well.
Sharfe estimates his character makes almost 90 appearances a year at day-care centers, schools, festivals, Little League openings, birthday parties and corporate-sponsored events.
Scheduling his many careers, interests and social life can be a job in itself for Busy, er, Buddy Bat.
"I don't have a social life," Sharfe says with a laugh. "I see many friends at my shows, but I rarely get to hang out without working.
"I also have the world's best girlfriend for supporting me and never complaining about my schedule. I always cherish one-on-one time with Kasey Blair during the week and during the weekend when possible. Kasey is what keeps me together. Sometimes she knows my schedule better than I do. I love her and thank her for supporting all my jobs."
Reporter Ken Neuhauser can be reached at (502) 582-4204.