Sports Spotlight on Joe Schumacher | VideoScott Westerberg | 4/25/2012
After graduating from Bismarck High, Joe Schumacher knew he wanted to go to college, just not immediately.
Joe Schumacher, "I decided I was going to take a year off of school and only train wrestling as many different places as I could get to, so I went to Canada for three weeks. I trained in Oregon with the USA National Team."
Then this January, the former state and national champion joined up with Athletes in Action, a global ministry that uses sports to share a message of faith. His first stop...a three and a half month stay in Mongolia.
Schumacher, "We`ve over there teaching people about God and Jesus. There`s Athletes in Action in 85 different countries in the world, and we go to clubs and train with them."
The mission part of the trip allowed Schumacher and the other Athletes in Action to bring gifts to kids all over the country.
Schumacher, "We used the present to talk to the kids and to be able to come into the schools cause they`re a free country. They`re democratic, so they have freedom of religion. It was really cool that we got to talk about Jesus Christ and God in the school system."
While in Mongolia, Schumacher spent time with a couple other Americans, but mostly his interaction was with the locals.
Schumacher, "That first week, week and a half was tough with the language. Then I started picking up a few words. As it went on I was there for three and a half months, I know a lot of the language now. I can speak it pretty well. I was shocked cause it`s a really tough language to learn, but being by all these people who don`t speak English, it forces you to learn it, otherwise you can`t interact with them."
Another big draw for Schumacher was the chance to train with the Mongolian national team, plus spend a week in both Russia and China working out and competing.
Schumacher, "What`s awesome about wrestling is you can go into any wrestling room and you don`t have to know the language. You just go `hey, you want to go`. You pick a guy and go at it."
As important as the wrestling part of the trip was, Schumacher says he learned much more than just a few new moves on the mat.
Schumacher, "Being on your own and learning how to live on your own. It was cool, and I`m in a different country. Not many people my age get to do that. I was really fortunate."
Schumacher will be heading to college in the fall. He plans to wrestle at Oregon State along with former Bismarck High teammate Joe Latham. Napoleon senior Jared Reis will also join the Beavers next year.
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