Rams punter Chris Bodnar looks toward a future in football
In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 best-selling piece Outliers: The Story of Success, the Canadian author argued that even the most remarkable human beings don’t achieve success on their own. Chris Bodnar, the University of Regina Rams’ star punter, most likely agrees with Gladwell’s assertion.
In his youth, the son of two former University of Saskatchewan athletes played “nearly every sport there was” before first trying his hand at organized football in the fourth grade.
A quarterback in his early days, Bodnar has been punting footballs – mostly with his father – for nearly as long as he can remember.
Although he has punted thousands of footballs over the course of the last 15 or so years to make it where he is today, Bodnar insists that he by no means made it here alone.
Bodnar, who was recently named a CIS all-star, attributes much of his success in the game to his parents.
“I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without a few people in my life, for sure, and my family is right at the top of the list,” Bodnar, whose father was a backup punter during his time at the U of S, explained. “My dad has helped me so much. We still go to the park nearly every day in the summer to work together. My dad has had a huge impact on my career, I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. He’s been my mentor, coach, and best friend though out this whole process.
“My mom, on the other hand, makes sure that I keep up with my school work; she reminds me that football isn’t the be all and end all. She has obviously had a huge impact on me, too. She’s a hard worker and a perfectionist, and obviously a huge supporter as well.”
On the field, Bodnar deflects a great deal of his success – including his recent all-star award – to his teammates.
“I feel that I may have tricked a few coaches with this all-star nomination,” Bodnar said with a laugh. “But it’s really a group effort. It’s a testament to the guys that I’ve got around me covering my kicks. I’ve got the best long-snapper in the country, so he makes my job pretty easy. A good long-snapper is so important.”
Outside of Bodnar’s immediate family and Rams teammates, the young punter has long looked up to Jon Ryan, the current Seattle Seahawks and former Rams punter.
“He’s been a good friend and mentor to me,” Bodnar said. “We keep in pretty close contact and he’s helped me a lot in my career, whether its giving me little hints or something bigger. At the end of the day, though, he’s just a great guy, so it’s easy to look up to someone like that.
“I think Jon has had a huge impact on my career. Seeing a guy from Saskatchewan doing the things that he’s doing now gives some of us guy’s hope that we can do it too. Aspiring to be the next Jon Ryan is something that I definitely want to do.
Although Bodnar, who is pursuing a degree in kinesiology, has big plans in the world of football, he intends on one day making a living off the field.
“I would like to go on a long playoff run and hopefully win a Vanier Cup for all of my teammates and coaches next year,” Bodnar, who spent time at the Edmonton Eskimos training camp before the start of this season, said. “I feel that I do have a chance at a career in professional football. Playing in the CFL would mean a lot to me and my family. We’ve all put a lot of time and effort into this.
“I would like to get my degree and I would like to apply to become a firefighter and pursue that career whenever the timing is right. I think in terms of being in a team-atmosphere, firefighting would be a great career choice. It’s kind of like a team – you’re with your guys all the time and then when that bell rings, it’s time to go to work.”