You can have all the stars you want on a team, but a good one is never complete without those no-nonsense, rough-and-tough kids who will run through five brick walls for you. In NDSU’s case, one of them is Brian Schaetz, who was the subject of my story today.
There’s more to this story, like the following lifestyle item for some insane reason I forgot to put in. Schaetz, from rural Denmark, Wis., would often go to Denmark High School to lift weights around 4 a.m., yes in the morning, return to his family dairy farm to ”pound out the chores” as assistant coach Tim Polasek put it, and then head back to school. Or sometimes, that order would be reversed — he would get up at 4 to do the chores, head to the high school for weight lifting before class began.
So, in the proper contest of NDSU’s 5:30 a.m. weight lifting sessions over the course of all year, Schaetz probably views that as sleeping in. It didn’t take long for Bison coaches to realize that kind of attitude last fall and it got to the point that Schaetz made the travel squad as a true freshman in the last regular season game at Western Illinois. It was for emergency purposes only and Schaetz said this week he was hoping he wouldn’t play so as to not have to burn a season. My guess is they took him on the trip as a way to give him the experience because they saw him playing a backup role this year. I remember No. 61 running out for warmups in Macomb and wondering who in the heck was this guy? We doubled checked the spelling of his last name; it was as if he joined the team that week and had no chance of playing much in his career. That first impression was wrong.