One of the Saskatchewan Roughrider helps encourage students in Prince Albert to work hard to achieve their goals.
© Herald photo by Jodi Schellenberg
Lauryn Fladager and Nolan Hoggarth, SIAST students and emcees of the last Healthy Campus project wrap on Thursday, get their photo taken with Roughrider Levi Steinhauer.
The last celebration of a four-year research project by the University of Saskatchewan, SIAST and the First Nation University was held on Thursday at the Prince Albert SIAST campus with special guest Levi Steinhauer of the Roughriders.
“This is a participatory action research project that includes students, faculty and staff of SIAST, the University of Saskatchewan and First Nations University,” said June Anonson from the U of S College of Nursing. “Today, this is our windup of all the things we have done over the last six years to promote a healthy campus at these sites.”
During the research, the facilitators encouraged students to take control of their own lives and see how they can make their campuses healthier.
“The project really was to encourage students to take ownership of their own health and the environment where they lived, worked and went to school,” Anonson said. “If they saw things that weren’t healthy (we encouraged them) to address them or make a difference through the appropriate channels.”
Arnold Boldt, the SIAST vice president of academic and research, was proud to be hosting the final event at SIAST.
“It is very difficult, I think, for a person to step into and focus on staying healthy, eating well and healthy activity,” Boldt said. “Soon you students will be in various leadership roles … you need to keep your mind and your body healthy. Through projects like healthy campus, we can work together to improve our environment.”
Steinhauer, who not only plays professional football but also continued his education through the College of Kinesiology at the U of S, took the stage to discuss how he achieved his goals, reminding the students that their future is in their hands and how to be successful.
When Steinhauer first played football 14 years ago, he hated everything about football -- especially the hitting.
“All I wanted to do after my first year was never play football again -- I looked up to my dad and my brother and they played football and I thought I have to play football,” Steinhauer said. “After a couple more seasons of football, I loved football. I loved everything about it … The really ironic thing is now I really like to hit people -- it is kind
of funny how I used to hate that but now I love it.”
He played football through junior high and high school, winning two provincial titles, catching the eye of the U of S Huskies.
“I was scouted by the University of Saskatchewan and decided to make that my home for the next four years,” Steinhauer said. “It is funny going from high school where you are one of the biggest kids (then) I came to university and I was one of the smallest guys on the team.”
In order to be on the team, Steinhauer said he had to work hard, putting on a lot of body weight and getting stronger while taking classes.
“Over the four years, I slowly moved up that goal, slowly got more playing time and then coming into my fourth year, I started getting looks from the CFL,” Steinhauer said. “I spoke with a few teams and went through that whole process.”
Throughout his time with the Huskies, Steinhauer said he was injured a lot and was worried the lack of tape would make it difficult for him to go professional.
“I ended up getting drafted this year in the fifth round, 40th overall, for the Saskatchewan Roughriders,” Steinhauer said. “Draft day was a special time. I was pretty pumped about that. I always wanted to play professional football.”
Being a Saskatchewan boy, Steinhauer was very excited to be drafted by the Roughriders.
“It didn’t take long when I got to camp that I realized I wasn’t really supposed to be with the team -- I had a crappy number, a crappy locker and I was in the fifth round,” Steinhauer said.
Instead of being discouraged, he looked at it as a hurdle he had to overcome.
“When I went to camp I said I wasn’t going to let that get me down, I wasn’t going to be discouraged by that at all,” Steinhauer said. “In my mind, I was going to make that football team -- there was no way I was going to go back to play at university again, I wanted to play pro.”
He put his nose to the grindstone and worked as hard as possible to be the best.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be the biggest or the fastest guy, so I knew I had to be the smartest,” Steinhauer said. “Every night I would go study for two or three hours, all the plays -- not only did I know all my plays, I knew other people’s plays. I tried to know multiple positions so if anything happened I could play anywhere and that is what got me through camp.”
Luckily, his hard work and dedication paid off and Steinhauer made it onto the team.
“I started just on special teams -- I am a long-snapper but I also play defensive end,” Steinhauer said.
He played special teams for the first nine games of the season and was able to get a few reps of defense in until Labour Day, when he injured his knee in the first quarter of the game.
“I was only out for a quick two weeks and I was able to come back,” Steinhauer said. “When I came back, our long snapper got injured and I stepped in. I ended up long snapping for the last nine games of the season, which was kind of nerve-wracking.
“I’m a rookie and long snapping in the CFL was a little more serious than it was in College,” he added. “If you have a bad snap, that is a pretty big issue and your job is on the line.”
Although he was nervous, he did well and helped the team make it to the Grey Cup.
“I was a snapper in the Grey Cup -- that was a freaky thing for me,” Steinhauer said. “I never played in a game that big in my life … That was a crazy game, to be at home and play the Grey Cup at home, in front of all your home fans, that was awesome.”
He said there were a couple things that helped contribute to the success of the Roughriders during the season. The first was the camaraderie between the players.
When Steinhauer first started with the team, he was surrounded by players who had been in the CFL for years.
“I was awestruck the first few times I was in that locker room,” he said.
At first, he was afraid the other players would treat him differently because he was a rookie player.
“What I realized really quick and what was part of our success is nobody was going to do that to me, no one was going to put me in my place,” Steinhauer said. “Our team was a big family. They really were my brothers. Every day we walked in and guys would say good morning, talk to you. No matter where we went, we were just a big family.”
The other important part of success was the way the players were treated by the coach. He treated them with respect and made them feel important every day.
“We were just treated like champions the entire year,” Steinhauer said. “Every single day when the coach came in he would address us as champions … It was ingrained in our minds we were champions.
“When the Grey Cup came along, it was good because we were prepared to play that game because we were told all year we were champions and were going to be in that game,” he added.
Winning the Grey Cup was an amazing experience and he enjoys coming out to Saskatchewan communities to share his story of success.