Athletic recruiting is a dog-eat-dog world of the first order. Coaches and colleges are constantly looking for a foothold — any foothold —that might help tighten their grip on a prospective recruit.
In the early 1980s, the University of Nebraska was ahead of its time with a strength and conditioning room unparalleled in size and scope. Recruits got a dreamy, glazed look staring at it and signed on the dotted line, no questions asked. Rivals lined up en masse to tour it during the off-season. Over the next 15 years, copycat facilities appeared on virtually every Division I campus in America.
Unbeknownst to many — myself included, until recently — Northwest College has its own recruiting hook.
No, I'm not talking about Johnson Fitness Center, although that's certainly a strong selling point for prospective student-athletes. Northwest College's hook is something far subtler.
Gatorade. More specifically, Gatorade on tap.
The Sports Guy recently had a chance to visit with some of NWC's newest wrestling recruits last week during the college's annual wrestling camp. As I typically do, I asked each what attracted them to the Trappers' program.
I'm accustomed to hearing responses regarding community atmosphere, team success and quality coaching. I am not used to hearing Gatorade.
Nevertheless, there it was, straight from the lips of three of the Trappers' newest commitments. Gatorade.
Thanks to Pepsi, Trapper athletic teams are able to enjoy the benefits of having Gatorade. In their locker rooms.
“It does make a difference,” noted Trapper wrestling coach Jim Zeigler, noting Gatorade has always been available on tap in the college's training room. “These guys like it. It's something that we have that other schools don't.”
Now, it should be noted that all three recruits also voiced their like of the close-knit nature of the Trappers' wrestling team and Coach Zeigler. Nevertheless, the fact that all three, in the space of a short conversation, also brought up Gatorade — well, that's just something you don't hear every day.
We'll have to wait and see how the new faces fare on the mat for Northwest College. For now, though, it's pretty clear what's putting the ‘G' in these aspiring national champions.
With another Cody Stampede successfully in the books, The Sports Guy finds Wyoming's culture growing on him. In fact, should I ever contemplate a career change, I think I've found my second calling.
No, I'm not going to be one of those brave souls clinging to the back of a bull for the eight-second ride of my life.
For starters, I think I can safely say that both the ride and my life would last less than eight seconds if I ever made that decision.
We can ditto that for events that entail me being seated on the back of a bucking horse and/or voluntarily jumping off a horse to grab a steer by the horns. For that matter, I shudder to think of the number of ways something could go horridly amiss if I ever attempted to throw a lasso.
In short, faithful reader, rest assured that you will never, ever see my name moving up the PRCA leaderboards.
But I think there might be an opening for me in the world of stock contracting. More specifically, I want to be the person in charge of coming up with names for the bulls and broncs used in PRCA competition. Sitting around a room thinking up monikers like “Steak Your Claim,” “T-Bone's Revenge” and “Too Rare” — that's the sort of thing that speaks to my creative side.