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Off-season athletes find different ways to keep busy

Photo by Maddie Malat.

Cobber athletes commit a large majority of their time to their respective sports and even

get involved in other extracurricular activities.  Luckily, Concordia’s scheduling allows these individuals a chance to participate in other extracurricular activities in the off-season.

As spring sports are in session, fall athletes participating in soccer, volleyball and football are in their off-season. This opened-up time gives the athletes in these squads a chance to explore other activities in and out of Concordia. Junior Liz Bitzan and women’s soccer goalkeeper, has had a chance to focus more of her energy in missionary work and choir.

Bitzan picked Concordia because she knew that there was the possibility to participate in multiple out-of-class events. As a fall athlete and a member of the Concordia choir, Bitzan has to juggle the two for some time during the fall. However, once spring arrives, she can spend more time participating in choir and service.

“I am able to do a lot more with volunteer work,” Bitzan said. “I am a student missionary through Focus so I do a lot with that.”

Focus, a missionary training and faith strengthening base for students, is based at North Dakota State University. As a student leader in the program, Bitzan is able to spend more time attending events and connect with people in the spring.

With choir, Bitzan has a lot more overlap between the ensembles and soccer in the fall. Bitzan believes that she is able to do the two activities because of the flexibility that her instructors offer when the soccer season is in full swing.

“I am missing in action a lot of the time because the overlap between choir and soccer is immensely apparent,” Bitzan said. “In choir, my director is very understanding.”

In addition to choir and Focus, Bitzan finds time for her teammates as they conduct off-season workouts. According to the goalie, every year the team also has an intermural basketball team that plays in the Concordia organized program. All these extracurricular activities keep Bitzan occupied before the women’s soccer season rolls around again in the fall.

For other athletes, next fall is not the beginning of a new season because graduation is right around the corner. Recently retired captain of the men’s soccer team, senior Justin Flack, has had a very different off-season than usual.

According to Flack, the men’s soccer team holds off-season workout sessions that include training and some indoor team scrimmages throughout the spring.

“They lift some amount of days in a week,” Flack said. “We usually play futsal  (indoor soccer) at Olson a couple times a week, and then we also play on Sundays at the Metro Rec Center.”

This spring, Flack does not get a chance to do some of these off-season activities. According to the former captain, he only makes it to futsal on Sundays whenever he can – when work and job applications are not occupying the usual off-season time.

“I don’t make it to the lifting things anymore, which I thought I would,” Flack said. “But I’ve been really busy with trying to find jobs and what not.”

As priorities have changed for Flack, more of the focus has been on getting out into the world after graduation. However, soccer is still a part of his life. After the end of his own competitive soccer career, Flack spends his time coaching 15 and 16-year old youth soccer players in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

“I work at the Metro Rec Center, and I also coach a team in the area,” Flack said.

Flack still finds time to connect with the team. Apart from the Sunday matches, Flack stays in contact with and helps the new team captain, Nick Koerbitz, through the transitional leadership period. The former captain tries to make himself available to make the change as smooth as possible.

“Nick and I, we talk all the time; and I help where I can,” Flack said. “He’s doing a great job. He’s really stepped up into his role.”

On the other side of campus, after it starts snowing and no more games are played at the Jake Christiansen Stadium, nose guard Adam Frazier trades in his football uniform to cheer for the basketball teams’ home games.

“I cheer on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Frazier said. “Cheering is usually in the afternoon or on the evenings.”

Again, the off-season workouts are a common theme for Frazier. The football player manages to keep up with both cheerleading and football because the timing works. According to Frazier, the football exercises are held early in the morning at 6 a.m., while cheering happens from 5 to 7 p.m.

“There’s four time slots a day, and you pick and choose which ones you go to,” Frazier said. “Mostly a bunch of off-season stuff to try to make yourself better for the football season.”

Frazier mentioned some of his teammates play other sports at Concordia. The football team has members who double as baseball and track and field players. Coupled with the offseason workouts, all these contribute in helping the players stay in shape by the time the preseason arrives.

The connection between team members is valuable during the off-season as it helps players, former and current, stay connected. For Flack, Frazier and Bitzan, the off-season is a time to catch up on and prioritize other activities. According to Bitzan, the range of activities gives athletes a chance to expand their interests and contributes to the all-around unique experience at Concordia.

“Coming to Concordia, I fully expected to pursue music and be able to pursue higher level academics as well as participate in competitive soccer,” Bitzan said. “That’s basically why I chose Concordia.”

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