The Power of Division III Sports

FRANK CUSHMAN | SPORTS EDITOR

This summer the greatest sporting event in the world, the Olympics, took place in Rio De Janeiro. Over 11,00 athletes and millions of fans converged on the city to compete, cheer and celebrate. We saw many familiar faces, Phelps, Biles, Bolt, Walsh-Jennings. For me, though, one of the best things about the games is seeing the people who have about as much name recognition as you and me. They take to the world stage and compete at the highest level of their sport.

In walks the 19 year old Joshua Tibatemwa, swimmer, flag bearer for Uganda and sophomore at Grinnell College. Hailing from Kampala, Uganda Tibatemwa is beginning his second year and gearing up for his second season swimming for the Pioneers. Seems like quite the off-season. One of two swimmers from Uganda to go to Rio and the sole member of the men’s team he took part in one event. Swimming the 50m freestyle he finished witha time of 25.98s putting him in 64th place. Timbatemwa’s story is the kind that makes the olympics so special; an event like no other. A place where a Midwest Conference athlete is counted within the best in the world. What an experience.

The same day as Tibatemwa was bearing his nation’s flag at the opening ceremony, Joe Callahan reported to Packers training camp. The 23 year old, recent Wesley College graduate was coming off one of the best seasons ever seen in NCAA history. He became only the second quarterback to throw for over 5000 yards, doing so at a 70 percent completion percentage. He completed 55 touchdown passes and added 7 on the ground. Considering that though he was still a safe scratch from most people’s projected final roster, he was there to provide the defense a look at a good scrambling quarterback in practice.

Fast forward a month and Callahan just played in his fourth preseason game put- ting in yet another impressive performance. He has stolen the spotlight this August play- ing so well people are asking if the packers should consider keeping him on the roster even with Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley firming 1 and 2 on the depth chart respectively. He is still a long shot to make the final 53 man roster but his showing this summer has all but guaranteed him a spot somewhere in the league.

This summer the greatest sporting event in the world, the Olympics, took place in Rio De Janeiro. Over 11,00 athletes and millions of fans converged on the city to com- pete, cheer and celebrate. We saw many familiar faces, Phelps, Biles, Bolt, Walsh-Jennings. For me, though, one of the best things about the games is seeing the people who have about as much name recognition as you and me. They take to the world stage and compete at the highest level of their sport.

 

These two athletes Ti- batemwa and Callahan are from very different places doing very different things but there is one unifying connection, division three athletics. They remind us just how excellent the competition is, show us that we have the privilege to see world class athletes compete on the small stages that we call home.

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