Devils Lake's Caleb Schneider proud to take part in 2022 North Dakota Shrine Bowl
DEVILS LAKE – Caleb Schneider didn't remember when he found out the news to the absolute letter.
Regarding letters, what Schneider did remember was when he received a letter stating he was selected to participate in the 2022 North Dakota Shrine Bowl slated to take place on June 18 at Mayville State University. Created in 1974, the North Dakota Shrine Bowl All-Star Game honors high school athletes, promotes awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children and informs the public about the organization.
"When I found out…joy," Schneider said. "It was hard to describe in words because it was something that I really wanted to do when I saw my dad coach in it before, and [to] finally get to do it is just awesome, actually."
As one of 36 football players on the 11 – East team, the graduated senior and cornerback/wide receiver hybrid in Schneider will not only represent the Firebirds on the field but additionally have the opportunity to put a touch of family competition on the line – his cousin, Tucker Schneider (Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter), will be one of 27 players on the 9 – West team.
A family connection will not be the sole storyline around Caleb during the festivities. If anything, Caleb's ability to represent the Firebirds from the opening kick to the final knee will additionally be something to watch.
As he takes to the gridiron, Devils Lake football head coach Todd Lambrecht believes Caleb is the embodiment of a player ready and willing to do whatever it takes in any game that comes his way.
"It was awesome when I heard he [Schneider] got selected," Lambrecht said. "It's an honor, and especially as someone who has played the game before, it's an honor to play in the game [and] to be selected to play in the game. So, it's a good deal for our community, and it's a great opportunity for him to play with other people from other cities that got selected and other towns that are good quality athletes and love the game of football."
Of course, Lambrecht saw first-hand what Caleb could do on the offensive and defensive side of the game. However, what stood out the most to Lambrecht was Caleb's intangibles on and off the field.
From this ability to work the game inside and out, Schneider's representation in the Shrine Bowl became much more of a slam-dunk choice.
"He [Schneider] studies the game," Lambrecht said. "He understands the ins and outs, he understands philosophies, schematics and he's smart. He's good football sense. Always plays hard. Gives 100%, and he's that player that will work on something until he gets it right and keep working on it even harder when he does. So, great coachable kid. Great enthusiasm, great attitude. You see those things in a player, and when they get selected for something like the Shrine [Bowl], it's pretty awesome to see."
But Caleb's ability to bring talent and optimism didn't stand out solely from the player's excitement to play in the contest.
While he believes the 2022 Shrine Bowl will make his top-five list for the most memorable games he has taken part in, Schneider additionally understands the importance of the game and why it is played.
To Caleb, the 2022 Shrine Bowl is an opportunity to look beyond football and show gratitude to those unable to play the sport.
While playing to win will undoubtedly be one goal, Caleb will additionally play hard for what the game stands for in the first place.
"Just kind of like what the Shriners [Hospitals for Children] stands for because they help young kids…it is almost more than football at that point," Schneider said. "Football is just a small part of what the Shrine Bowl is. It is all kind of with the Shriners Hospital, and I think my dad has talked about how important the Shriners are because he has been to the children's hospital before, and, like I said, the football is just a small part of what actually the whole week is about."
As Caleb officially closes the door on his high school football career, it will be through the mindset of staying positive and playing for a higher cause that will propel him to play with such vigor and drive from start to finish.
Right to the letter.
John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.