From beanies to bed races, traditions are popular around the campus of Benedictine College. Senior starting quarterback Shaefer Schuetz has his own tradition that is quite bizarre.
The day before each football game, Schuetz cranks his lawn mower and gets to work. He tends to his lawn making sure each blade of grass is perfectly cut in straight lines.
This tradition started by accident three years ago. Schuetz was the backup quarterback at the time when the Ravens were preparing to play #12 ranked Missouri Valley College in the Heart Game of the Week. Schuetz was not expecting see the field at all for this opening season game.
So, Schuetz decided to do some yard work the day before.
“I’m not playing anyways, might as well get some yard work in,” Schuetz said. “I’m just grinding out in the yard. I put mulch down, I was weed-wacking, mowing and all that.”
Later that night, Schuetz would go to the team’s film session. The coaching staff informed him that he was going to start in place of the injured starting quarterback. The next day, Schuetz would throw for 309 yards and four touchdowns to defeat the higher-ranked Vikings.
“Maybe I should mow the lawn every week now,” Schuetz said smiling.
Today, Schuetz’s tradition of mowing has a much deeper meaning.
“It serves as a little reminder when I’m doing it [mowing]. At one time, you weren’t the guy,” Schuetz said. “They [coaches] didn’t think you were good enough to put the team in the best position to win.”
Last year, Schuetz did not uphold his tradition the day before their game against Graceland. Schuetz would go on to throw two interceptions including one that would be a pick-six.
“So I don’t miss weeks anymore,” Schuetz said.
Weather does not halt a lawn mower from being pushed around the yard of his house on Mound Street.
Senior linebacker and roommate, Luke Wozny explained that Schuetz is pretty stubborn and that weather is never going to stop his tradition.
“The first time it snowed the day before the game, Shaefer was outside mowing. Well, the mower was never on but he would just push it around the yard,” Wozny said.
If it rains or snows, Schuetz will be outside pushing his mower around their yard.
Last year, his tradition was in jeopardy as the Ravens traveled to Daytona Beach, Flo. for the NAIA National Championship. Schuetz feared he would not be able to mow the lawn, but help from the kitchen of their hotel kept the tradition alive. The chef of the restaurant lived near the hotel and was able to bring his lawnmower to Schuetz.
Schuetz would mow the lawn of the hotel in front of a crowd before the biggest game of his career.
“I’ve never mowed for an audience before. I was definitely uncomfortable,” Schuetz said. “As soon as I started it up, people are like, ‘YEAH!’, and then after two lines everybody was like, ‘its just mowing.’”
Schuetz’s lawn will be mowed every week this season. His lawn will look perfect not because of the curb appeal, but for the odd tradition that he created three years ago on accident. This is not a normal Benedictine tradition, it’s uncanny.
“100 percent weird, it’s bizarre,” Schuetz said.