Sanford practices facing adversity before graduation

By Emily Schmidt
University Communications Student Assistant

MINOT, N.D. – Since physical education major Jordan Sanford started playing tackle football in the third grade, there has never been a year when he did not face an opposing team on the field, until this year.

Sanford moved from Bismarck, ND to Minot State with a legacy behind him.

“I’ve been around sports my whole life; my family’s been around sports my whole life,” he said. “My dad played football at Minot State, and then my grandpa is also in the hall of fame for football at Minot state, so I’m the third generation."

That’s not the only thing Sanford has in common with his father.

“When I was growing up, I just kind of felt like I wanted to be a teacher,” he said. “My dad had gone back to school to be a teacher when I was in elementary school. I had him as a teacher when I was an eighth grader. There were always a lot of times when a teacher would do something and I would think to myself, ‘If I were a teacher, I would do this, or I would do this differently,’ so that just kind of pushed me to be a teacher and actually do those things.”

Now Sanford is working on his physical education practicum at South Prairie School where he observes middle and high school general physical education and weights.

“It’s good for me to get more experience and see different grade levels and different classes and how he operates and goes about things,” said Sanford.

His student teaching will start next spring, and coach Aldrich sees him doing well.

“Jordan will excel as a teacher,” said Aldrich. “He is a very good communicator, organized, and passionate about what he does. He knows how to connect with all different types of personalities, including motivating and supporting them.”

While Sanford is approaching his student teaching position with confidence, his start on the team was timid.

“When I first got into the program, I was just a freshman, kind of a church mouse, you know, you don’t say a lot. But over the last four years, I’ve taken over more leadership roles and have been looked up to, and I constantly remind myself to do right and to be accountable and that I'm leading by not only the things I say but what I do.”

Head coach Mike Aldrich has noticed this in Sanford.

“Jordan is a strong personality and a big voice in the locker room. Whatever his role is, he holds others around him accountable to the team and helps keep the team’s culture strong and in place.”

“I’ve always loved being in a leadership role,” Sanford said. “In my senior year of high school, I was the class president of at Bismarck High. I’d like to in the future become an athletic director for a school somewhere or potentially a principal, or even all the way to a state superintendent of public instruction in North Dakota once I get some teaching years under my belt.”

So while the football season and time in the classroom has been different this semester, there still is a bright side for Sanford.

“There’s a lot of things that don’t go as planned,” he said. “Whether it’s in preparation or in gameplay, you have to adjust on the fly, and I think those are all skills that apply to a lot more than just the game of football or just academically. They’re all chances that I’ve faced throughout college that can be applied to the real world and prepare me better for situations in the future.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 10/09/20   

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