On the football field, Weston Hiebert, Kansas State University safety and special teams’ player, likes to lay bone-crushing hits on his opponents. Sometimes he ends up on the bottom of the pile. Sometimes people fall on top of him, and sometimes he is a little sore the day after a game. However, Goessel Elementary School students learned from Hiebert on Thursday, that players, who seem mean on the field, are really nice people off the field and they care about others.
“Our coach (Bill Snyder) wants us to be good people,” Hiebert said. “We do a lot of stuff for others throughout the year, like distributing food for food pantries, reading to students, and mentoring kids who might have trouble with bullying and even going to recess with them. We also help with Special Olympics, visit children in hospitals, and spend time with shut-ins or elderly who are lonely in nursing homes around Manhattan.”
All of these activities help build character and Hiebert, number 17 on the K-State team, said playing for Snyder has helped him become more responsible and a better person.
Hiebert, a 2010 Goessel High School graduate, shared his perspective on being a K-State football player and answered children’s questions as part of a special event honoring the elementary student’s achievement of collecting 558 items of food for a local food pantry, in just one week last December.
“It’s important to help others,” he said. “It’s also important to be a good student. If I don’t get all my homework done and do well in my classes, then I can’t play football.”
Hiebert keeps a grueling schedule during football season, lifting weights in the dark of morning before embarking on a full day of classes every weekday.
“I am in class until 2 or 3 each afternoon, and then I go straight to football practice until 7 p.m.,” he said. “After that I have to make sure I get my homework done, even if I am tired and don’t feel like it.”
Hiebert did say he had mentors who helped him as needed academically. He also had many friends who helped make all the hard work worthwhile.
“When I first decided I wanted to play football for K-State, I just wanted to be part of something bigger than I had ever been before,” Hiebert said. “Probably the best part of going to the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona Dec. 28 to Jan. 4 was just being there with all my friends.”
Even though his team lost a big game on Jan. 3 to Oregon, Hiebert said his favorite moment was when his punt block unit stopped a fake punt.
“We were on it,” he said.
Hiebert said next year’s K-State football team would look a lot different than that of 2012.
“We’ll be losing 27 to 30 seniors, many of them 1st team players,” he said.
With two more years of eligibility left, Hiebert hopes to move into a more prominent position.
“It’s a big commitment, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
While visiting with Goessel students, Hiebert showed them a K-State helmet, gloves, cleats, and gave them each an autographed picture of himself in uniform. He encouraged them to keep up with their homework and to be good to others.