Feb. 7, 2009
Chris Ptaszek spent most of his time on the football field at Rice Stadium playing a role that he did not come by naturally.
At 6-5 and just under 300 pounds, he certainly looked the part of a nose tackle, but the requisite violence that the position demands in order to survive and to succeed was something that he had to manufacture each time he took the field.
However, drop him into a room with school-age children, then sit back and watch his true personality emerge. Ptaszek was a regular among the Owls who signed up to visit local schools, or help when groups of children paid a visit to the Rice campus.
"I always liked seeing those smiling faces when we had a chance to visit schools or hospitals," Ptaszek recalled. "I never thought of it as something I was going out of my way to do. It was something I have always enjoyed," he added.
As with many of his teammates, Ptaszek was able to balance the demands of both his academic and athletic commitments well enough to find additional time to answer the call when a request was made.
Ptaszek credits his faith for giving him the energy and desire to make those appearances.
"It's something I believe very strongly. You can send a message just by how you present yourself. You want to be joyous in how you approach others, and by doing that, you give them the best example of what faith can do," he stated.
He admits at times that as he entered a classroom, he wondered if the students were afraid they were meeting the same person who stuffed opposing offenses at Rice Stadium in the fall. Those fears were always quickly put to rest.
"You can accomplish a lot with a smile, and the kids always picked up on that right away," Ptaszek said.
Ptaszek has his sights now firmly set on his post-football future. The kinesiology major sought out one of his professors about opportunities to get some hands-on experience in the Health Sciences and Nutrition field and he is currently assisting with a project on campus.
The work is definitely at the grass roots level, but Ptaszek is happy to have the chance to gain some experience.
"It's pretty basic stuff, to be honest," he noted. "But it's also a great opportunity to be a part of the research and to see the process in action while also getting credit for the work," he added.
With a willingness to set a joyful example in his daily life and an eye on a career that could impact so many lives, Chris Ptaszek is one of Tomorrow's Leaders.
Owls Open With Sweep
01/14/2017 - M. Tennis - Jake Hansen and Eric Rutledge won twice to lead an effort that saw contributions from the entire lineup as the Rice men’s tennis team opened ...
Hodge and Zhang Lead Owls on Day One
01/14/2017 - W. Tennis - Lindsey Hodge and Wendy Zhang each one in singles and combined to pick up a win in doubles to lead the Rice women’s tennis team in the first ...
Owls Travel to North Texas on Saturday
01/12/2017 - W. Basketball - The Owls will be back in action for the first time since last Sunday when they lost a 62-61 heartbreaker in overtime at UAB.
Ranked or Not, Rematch with Lamar Highlights...
01/13/2017 - M. Tennis - The Rice men’s tennis team will be looking for a double shot of momentum on their opening day of the 2017 dual season when they host UT- Rio ...
Women’s Tennis Opens with Metroplex Mania
01/13/2017 - W. Tennis - The Rice women’s tennis team will open their 2017 dual season in much the same manner they drew the 2016 fall season to a close when they...
Owls Win Five Events at Leonard Hilton Memorial
01/13/2017 - W. Track - The Rice Owls men’s and women’s track and field programs kick-started the 2017 indoor season Friday evening at the Leonard Hilton...
Men’s Basketball Closes Homestand with...
01/13/2017 - M. Basketball - Rice looks to get back on track this Saturday, Jan. 14, when it hosts North Texas. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. CT and will be live-streamed at CUSA.tv.
Owls Begin Indoor Campaign Friday
01/12/2017 - M. Track - The Rice Owls men's and women's track and field teams open the 2017 indoor season on Friday at the University of Houston's Leonard Hilton...
- Top Videos /
- Online Store