Kyle Schmidt was at work last week when he received a phone call from a coach with troubling news.
As a kid, Schmidt dreamed of lacing up the cleats, strapping on the shoulder pads and stepping onto the football field as a college athlete.
For three years at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Schmidt realized his dream.
Through hard work, blood, sweat and tears, the former Victoria East standout wide receiver was poised to enter his senior season this fall as team captain.
And then the phone call: Texas Lutheran and Southwestern University jointly announced they suspended their football seasons with a hope to play games in Spring 2021.
“After much consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to forego our fall football season ,” said Dr. Debbie Cottrell, president of Texas Lutheran University. “Our current public health environment is simply not conducive to ensuring the safety of our football players or those we would play against. As disappointing as this is, we are eager to work with these student-athletes this fall and look ahead to the possibility of spring play.”
Score another victory for COVID-19.
The decision weighed heavily on Schmidt.
“Being a senior and captain, knowing this is your last season of football ever, and it being moved to spring sucks,” Schmidt said. “As a kid dreaming to play college football, and knowing how far I have progressed, has made this news even tougher to deal with. Not many kids have the opportunity to play college football let alone be a captain of their team.”
Schmidt’s former teammate at East, Jacob Wiebelhaus, is a senior lineman for Georgetown’s Southwestern Pirates (4-6 overall in 2019, 3-6 in American Southwest Conference).
“Well, the season was postponed to the spring, so we will still get the chance to play football.”
Wiebelhaus remains positive.
The time off this fall will allow the team’s younger players to really learn the system and get them through that transition from high school to college football, he sad.
“This fall will be a huge opportunity for our team to grow and will lead to us being leaps and bounds ahead of where we would have been at the start of this fall,” Wiebelhaus said. “It will be different playing football in the spring. “But I am very excited to make the most of my senior year and play another year of football.”
Much like Wiebelhaus, Schmidt sees it as an opportunity for the Bulldogs, who finished last season at 8-2 overall, 8-1 in the ASC.
“The team and I have taken the season’s move to spring as a way to get closer together, get stronger, faster, and make the incoming freshman feel as if they are at home,” he said. “In addition, it gives us as a team the time needed to adjust to not only the upperclassmen but also the incoming freshman to a new offensive coordinator.”
The move to spring games doesn’t change anything, he said.
“The one goal we have at TLU is always striving for a conference championship. Just because a little bit of adversity from the coronavirus has come upon us isn’t going to deter us from achieving our goal. It only makes us hungrier than ever.
“I am glad to be a part of such a great school where they take the health and safety of their students to the extreme,” Schmidt said. “I’m thankful for their guidance and patience through this tough time.”