Clarissa Kraayenbrink- Staff Writer
Q: How and when did you start playing football?
JM: I started playing in 7th grade because all my friends played, so I wanted to be able to hang out with them. And then I didn’t actually like it that much in 7th grade so I quit and I didn’t play in 8th grade. And it was actually my mom that convinced me to play again in 9th. I gave it one more shot to see if I would like it again and I did, so I’ve been playing ever since.
Q: Why did you choose Dordt?
JM: I found out about Dordt because [former coach] Coach Youngblood came and visited me when I was in high school and told me about the school and how they had football. He convinced me to come on a visit, and like most people, once they come on a visit, they just love the campus and love the people. Once I got on campus, it was a no-brainer, and I decided to try it out and see if I liked it – and I’m still here.
Q: What is your leadership role on the team as a senior?
JM: This season, I was lucky enough to be selected captain along with four other guys. That’s been good; it’s been challenging me to be a vocal leader, instead of leading by example like I’ve done in the past. It pushes me out of my comfort zone because I have to get up and say stuff in front of the team that sometimes I’m not comfortable with, but knowing that sometimes that’s what the team needs. For somebody who makes plays on the field to be able to step up and challenge guys vocally like that – that’s what motivates me to do it: if I think it’s going to help the team.
Q: Now, as a senior, what is your favorite part of Dordt?
JM: Everybody always says “the people,” which is true. It’s kind of cliché, but there’s a lot of awesome people. I’ve met almost all my best friends here – playing football, mostly. That’s definitely one of the coolest things about being at Dordt. But then, also academically, I’ve had a lot of chances to actually apply what I’m being taught in class. I’ve gotten internships because my professor knows people and he’ll set me up. I’ve gotten a lot of experience that I’ve been taught in the classroom, out of class. Not a lot of schools can say that.
Q: What is one of your favorite on-the-field moments?
JM: From this season, the Dakota State game is probably one of my favorite memories. Just because it was a night game and it was also the opening game of the season, at home. It was just a whole new atmosphere; a bunch of people in the stands and you could just tell that this season was going to be different before the first game even started. We ended up winning and it was just a lot of fun.
Q: If you could give an incoming freshman any piece of advice, what would it be?
JM: I would say to get involved and take advantage of all the opportunities you have – even if you don’t think you’re qualified to do it. I’ve been offered internships I didn’t think I’d be qualified to do, but I don’t think anybody ever feels fully qualified for a job. Just by taking a leap of faith and putting yourself out there and doing it, you’ll probably exceed your own expectations with what you do. Then you’ll get even more experience and you’ll be able to do the next job you have even better.
Q: What is your dream job?
JM: It’d be cool to own my own business or to do advertising with Nike or ESPN.