For many student-athletes, juggling school work, a social life and a sport is a fairly daunting task. But for sophomores Bryce Buffaloe and Joshua Louis, playing one sport simply was not enough.
Already members of the track and field team, Buffaloe, a thrower, and Louis, a hurdler, decided to become walk-ons for the football team last spring. The decision to play football ended up being an easy one for both players.
Buffaloe, a fullback, and Louis, a wide receiver, each had played the sport at their respective high schools. Despite not playing as freshmen, they saw the hiring of football coach Al Golden as a chance to walk on and contribute to the team.
“I was going [to join the football team] out of high school,” Buffaloe said. “When I got here my first year, the program had a lot of problems. But football is my first passion. I love doing it.”
It was much of the same for Louis, as he had hoped his high school football career
would lead to greener pastures at the next level.
“In high school, all the guys who played football and track had the dream to play Division I football,” he said. “I knew I had the heart, the ability and the drive to go out there and try out. It didn’t hurt Louis to have the support and encouragement of his track coach, Stephanie
“He loves football and wanted to give it a go,” Scalessa said. “So his enthusiasm to being a part of the football team is something I wanted to encourage.”
But making the team was only the first step. Buffaloe and Louis had to take on the mental, physical and time-construing tolls of being student-athletes for two different sports.
“It’s very difficult [juggling both],” Louis said. “Most of the time I find myself saying ‘How in the world do I find time for school, track and football?’ It’s definitely a big sacrifice.”
On the other hand, Buffaloe didn’t see the time commitment as a big deal. Rather, he focused on the physiological aspects of playing two different sports.
“It’s just a mental thing,” he said. “The coaches told me your body can take just about anything, and that your mind will break down before your body. So that’s how I like to look at it.”
Listening to the coaches has certainly paid off for Buffaloe. Jeff Nixon, the running backs coach, singled out his fullback for his maturity, hard work and determination.
“Bryce is someone who’s well conditioned,
who’s disciplined and does well academically,” Nixon said. “So, he’s the type of person who can handle playing two sports.”
With the post-college life still a few years ahead of them, both Buffaloe and Louis have aspirations that take them away from the fields and tracks. However, the lingering thought of competing at the professional level might never fade.
“My plan is to start my own sports clinic,” Louis said. “But it’s always been my dream to go to the Olympics, so everyday I strive to work harder and harder to get that chance, one day.”
As for Buffaloe, he’s just setting his sights on what’s directly in front of him.
“I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I didn’t want to continue it later on,” he said.
“But I mean the thing is getting an education. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
With the track season in full force and the football team gearing up following spring break, Louis and Buffaloe are going to be seeing a lot of each other. But, according
to Buffaloe, that probably isn’t such a bad thing.
“We know each other, hang out every once in a while,” he said. “We’re cool.”
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.