Football recruit touts participating in two sports

Wrestling teaches accountability, says Stewart

Stewart also wrestles, trying to pin his opponent using the “Chickenwing” technique.

Max Eslava

Stewart also wrestles, trying to pin his opponent using the “Chickenwing” technique.

Max Wirth, Reporter

Senior Ben Stewart is an all-state football player and Boston College commit, but his participation in another sport improved him as a player and made him a more valuable recruit, he said.

Despite today’s more typical practice of specializing in only one sport, Stewart has remained a dual-sport athlete throughout his whole life, including high school; he doubles as the fourth place finisher in the 195-pound weight class at the State wrestling championship.

And this second sport has provided nothing but advantages in the recruitment process, Stewart said.  “Wrestling has taught me to be more accountable as an individual, and it’s taught me hard work. You can’t blame other people when you lose. In wrestling, you get all the glory and all the shame,” he said.

“I’ve learned some of my worst hardships from wrestling. Failures come from wrestling, but it’s led me to my biggest successes because it’s taught me to take the good from the bad,” he said.

“I was going to quit wrestling going into my junior year,” Stewart said. But the investment of time leading back to his childhood deterred him from cutting those ties. “The other kids on the team needed me to be in a position to win State,” he said. Stewart said making the State Finals was “one of the coolest things I’ve done in my athletic career.”

His split attention on his sports goes 65 percent football and 35 percent wrestling. “(Football) is something I fell in love with. I’m a big fan of the team aspect of it. Football is the best team sport, and it’s easy to fall in love with the brotherhood,” he said.

Shared skills

Stewart applied his wrestling skills to football. After finishing his four-year varsity stint with the Irish, he leads in career tackles with over 300. Stewart said wrestling has made him more explosive. “When I tackle it’s like a double leg takedown wrestling move,” he said.

Playing two sports have had positive repercussions beyond his skills in football. It gives him time to step away from this fall sport and build up a rejuvenated sense of love for the game. “Doing more than one sport prevents you from becoming bored and burnt out,” he said.

Also, it helps his body recuperate in areas where football drains him. “If you specialize in one sport, you’re more likely to overuse certain muscles and get hurt,” he said. “Doing more than one sport prevents you from becoming bored and burnt out.”

Advancing the recruiting process

Wrestling has also helped him advance in the recruiting process. “College coaches are more likely to recruit kids who do more than one sport,” Stewart said. He said Boston College Head Football Coach Steve Addazio told him he loves recruiting wrestlers. Alabama and Ohio State football coaches Nick Saban and Urban Meyer also have been known for targeting wrestlers when they can.

Head Varsity Football Coach Rick Streiff is a big advocate for playing multiple sports. “You work a different set of skills. You get coached by someone differently. You become a better athlete by playing more than one sport,” he said.