The North Dakota State Bison football team has received a lot of attention lately with their five straight division 1-AA championships and their recent defeat of the Iowa Hawkeyes, the number 13 team in the FBS.
Besides the football team, the track, wrestling, men's basketball and softball program along with others have been consistently receiving national attention. Yes the football team is great, but this athletic program is something special; these athletes are special.
In the six years I've spent around Bison athletics, there are a few common themes amongst athletes that make these programs what they are.
A lot of these athletes are getting their second chances. There are many who messed up in high school or didn't grow up with the best home life so they struggled with grades in high school. Power 5 schools passed them up because they wouldn't be accepted academically due to a rough child hood. It has nothing to do with their athletic ability or actual smarts, but how they had to struggle through high school with family troubles.
Our athletes were also over looked. Whether it be size, height, location or power, five schools looked passed them. Once they arrive at NDSU, our strength and conditioning coaches work to increase or decrease size, our coaches work to build confidence in those who were too short or tall to convince them that they can make it, and they do. Our coaches go to places other coaches refuse to look. We get the small town kids who can't play year round due to weather, and our coaches coach, they don't guide. They make the athletes better.
Lastly, because of the two previous reasons, we are blue collar, work horses. We know that we deserve to be there, but are lucky to be. We don't take our opportunities for granted. We trust in the process. We are proud to be there because we are lucky to be. We don't get thing handed to us, we earn them. We have one of the best athletic programs in the country for what we have, and we know it. Every day we strive to be the best.
Everyone plays their part in the success of athletics. We all support each other. We have great coaches, strength and conditioning, administration, athletic department, academics and advisors. We all have that same Bison pride. Here's to NDSU.
And last but not least, go bison