There’s more than two-hour practices, lifting weights and watching film for most college football players, or college athletes as a whole.
Players for the Black Hills State University football team probably did all three on Friday, but capped the day when they listened intently to several members of the United States Marine Corps in a two-hour leadership training session at the Young Center.
Seven Marines, led by Staff Sgt. Stuart Sanford of Rapid City (four from Rapid City and three from Fort Collins, Colo.) spoke to the BHSU players about leadership, team building and mental toughness, eventually breaking the teams down in groups with no coaches present.
BHSU head coach John Reiners said it was an opportunity to reinforce their set of core values and set of success ladder, which they set themselves from their leadership council.
Reiners said it was valuable for the players; they talked about it again on Saturday. He said he pulled up their core values and he pulled up their success ladder and asked, "What have we learned from this? For the Marines, what is their pinnacle?" The Marines, he added, are looking to serve and protect.
It was put to them in perspective, at a different level.
"If you are a Marine, you are fighting for your country, whatever battle they send them to, and your job is to survive and protect the guy to the right and the guy to the left," he said. "For us, if we don’t do the things on the bottom, we don’t win. If they don't do the things on the bottom, either them or somebody else is going to be killed."
Several Yellow Jackets got on Twitter following the seminar and Tweeted their appreciation to the United States Marine Corps.
Here’s a small sample:
Senior offensive lineman Andrew Blaylock: “I have a lot of work to do... That became real apparent to me tonight #RoomForImprovement #SelfReflection”
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Eriq Swiftwater: “Leadership isn't privilege, it's responsibility. #USMC"
Freshman defensive back Vincent Gullia: “Amazing experience tonight! Learned so much thank you @BHSUFootball for allowing that to happen.”
By Saturday night, the Jackets were back at it with practice, weights and film work as BHSU completed its third practice of the fall camps.
It was the first time the Marines spoke to the Yellow Jackets and Reiners said it won't be the last.
"It was awesome," he said.