Just as we see Jedi being used in a generic way today, padawan
is beginning to be found in contexts far removed from
galaxies far, far away. (Indeed, Padawan is the name of a
municipality in Malaysia, though it’s not known how Lucas chose
the name.) It usually refers to a younger follower or student of
some kind, and usually in fields that require special ability or
skill. In sports, for example, we find examples from both
professional baseball and football.