Names: Ben Jondle
Major: Health, Wellness, and Fitness
Minor: Business Administration
Hometown: Wales, WI
HC: What made you choose to attend UW-Stout?
BJ: The hands on experience. I learn way better from hands on rather than through reading or writing papers.
HC: What’s your favorite thing about Stout?
BJ: The small town atmosphere. I have never been a huge fan of large cities. That, and the Men’s Rugby team of course! Ever since I joined the team, I instantly gained not only a bunch of friends, but also a group of guys who have become like a family to me. We all have each other’s backs, and we support each other both on and off the field.
HC: How are you involved on campus/in the community?
BJ: I am currently the President for UW-Stout Men’s Rugby Club, as well as the Vice President for Sports Clubs. Next year I will be taking over the President position for Sports Clubs. Along with those two leadership positions, I am a Student Manager for Dining Services at the MSC, as well as a training Building Manager at the MSC.
HC: How did you get into Rugby?
BJ: I had some friends in high school who played, but due to my involvement with baseball, I was never able to try it out. When I first came to Stout, I was looking at clubs at the backyard bash and saw the rugby booth. I figured I would give it a shot, and I instantly fell in love with the sport.
HC: What position do you play?
BJ: Rugby is split up into two different categories of positions, backs, and forwards. Those two categories have different positions involved. Traditionally, the backs are the “show ponies,” which means they usually get all the glory, score the tries, etc. Where the forwards are the “work horses,” and they do a lot of the heavy hitting, scrumming, rucking, and so on. I am a forward, and I am the teams’ hooker. I know to the non-rugby world the term hooker seems odd for a position. The position gets its name because during the scrum, the hooker hooks the ball with their foot/leg.
HC: How do you prepare for a big game?
BJ: Preparation starts the day before. Hydration is key the day before, and the time leading up to the game. Being President, I am always the first to arrive at the field to make sure everything is set up correctly. I try to remain calm and not get too worked up during pregame warm ups, but regardless how many games I’ve played, there will always be nerves. During warm ups, I just focus on the task at hand, and that is getting ready for 80 minutes of smash mouth rugby. I don’t worry about the other team, or even other guys on my team, and their pregame rituals. I focus on what my role during the game is, and how I can successfully execute that role.
HC: How did the Rugby team do this season? Any memorable highlights or moments?
BJ: Unfortunately, this year we did not get to enjoy the success we’ve been accustomed to. With that said, we did have a lot of new guys who were forced into starting due to lack of numbers, or injuries. We ended our season 2-4, but saw improvement each week. It was important for team moral to finish the season with a win, which we successfully did beating Marquette 44-22 at home. For me, one of the big highlights of the year was watching our rookies learn the game, and develop into rugby players. I look forward to seeing them continue to grow, and help get us back to the tradition of success. One other thing that was really memorable for me this season was playing for the last time with guys that are graduating. Guys like Curtis White, Travis Swirth, Nick Aschenbrenner, and Jack Puetz. Those guys were vets when I was a rookie, and I will definitely miss their presence both at practice and during games.
HC: What are your plans for the future?
BJ: My goal after graduation is to eventually open my own gym. I know that right out of college that will not be possible, so I will be looking for a full time position, either as a fitness professional, or in some corporate wellness position until I have the capital and assets to fulfill my dream of owning my own gym.
Favorite Spot on Campus: The rugby pitch (AKA: Multi-Purpose field)
Favorite TV Show: The Simpsons
Favorite Food: Cheese
First Job: McDonald’s in Oshkosh, WI