By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — After finishing an outstanding prep career at Piqua High School, 2017 graduate Ben Schmiesing knew he could have gone on to a smaller college and been a standout.
But, Schmiesing knew being a preferred walk-on for The Ohio State University football team was the right decision for him.
And he couldn’t have asked any more for the experience through his first two seasons — except maybe not dealing with the coronavirus and all the havoc it has caused this spring.
“I said all along I wasn’t going to sacrifice academics for sports,” Schmiesing, a standout in football and basketball at Piqua and first team Division III All-Ohio selection at linebacker, said. “Obviously, going to Ohio State, I am not doing that (sacrificing his education).”
But, Schmiesing admits, like everyone else, he could not have anticipated what happened this spring.
Ohio State was a week into spring practice when everything came to a halt.
“We had one week of spring practice,” Schmiesing said. “Then, we had spring break the next week. By the time spring break was over, everything had been shut down. It was crazy. You are spending six hours a day (on football) and then all of a sudden, it is brought to a stop.”
Schmiesing said being without the game he loves has given him a new appreciation for it.
“I don’t think I realized how much I would miss it,” he said. “One of the good things is it has given me a lot of time to spend with my family that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
The challenge for Schmiesing right now is making sure he is in as good of shape he can be in whenever the return to football comes.
“I have some equipment at home,” Schmiesing, who is back in Piqua, said. “I have some bands (for workouts). The coaches have stayed in contact with us to make sure we are as ready as we can be when we get back (to practice) after all the time we have missed. It is basically just doing body weight work.
“As teammates, we have stayed in contact with each other, making sure everybody is doing the work they need to do.”
Schmiesing has heard all the rumors like everyone else.
There has been talk of playing in empty stadiums or possibly moving college football to next spring.
Schmiesing, like most, can’t imagine a Saturday afternoon or night at Ohio Stadium with no fans.
“Our fans are really important to us,” Schmiesing said. “They pump us up and are a big motivator for all the players. They are a really important part of the game.”
And Schmiesing admits he is as in the dark as anyone else about what the future of the game holds.
“I am not one of higher-ups who is involved in the decision making process (about the 2021 season),” Schmiesing said with a laugh. “I don’t know any more than anyone else.”
Schmiesing said OSU’s amazing season last year, going 13-0 before losing to Clemson in the national semifinals, was hard to put into words.
“It is really hard to describe,” Schmiesing said. “To get to travel to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game and be part of that atmosphere. And then to go to Arizona (for the national semifinal game) and be part of that atmosphere. It was like a dream come true.”
It just added to Schmiesing’s belief he made the right decision.
“It (Ohio State football) is a big part of me, and it has shaped my life,” Schmiesing said. “Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. It has been everything I could have asked for.”
Other than dealing with the coronavirus — which is something no one could have anticipated.
Contact Rob Kiser at email@example.com.
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