Courtesy of Philly.com
While the average Villanova student may feel overwhelmed by waking up at 7 a.m. every day to attend classes each week, very few students can match the packed schedule of student-athlete Chucky Smith. Smith is a senior safety on the Villanova Wildcats football team. At the same time, he is an active member of Villanova’s ROTC program. He balances these two responsibilities while also being a biology major on the pre-med track. I sat down with Chucky to ask him a simple question: how does he do it?
An average day for Chucky begins early, waking up between 5:00-5:30 in the morning, to attend mandatory ROTC physical training. Smith’s drill instructors often will allow him to leave five or ten minutes early, so he can make it over to the football field for the daily 8:15 a.m. practice, which ends around 11:30 a.m. After that, Chucky has a full day of classes just like any other student. Many of his nights are dedicated to the copious amounts of work that comes with being a pre-med student. He states his biggest concern after class is often “how late can I stay up doing work with PT at 6 a.m.?”
Largely inspiried by his father, Chucky Smith had always planned to enlist in the military after graduating. His father Charles served as a marine for ten years, and has always been an inspiration in Chucky’s life. Although his father did not force anything on him, the Marines have always been an interest for Chucky. With his goal of enlisting in mind, Chucky began doing extra workouts with ROTC. After two years of these workouts, he applied and joined officially.
Chucky says there are a lot of different ways his football life and ROTC life intersect. The most obvious way they relate is through the workouts each program goes through. Together, they are not only extremely tiring but also can be completely different workout styles. With football workouts often focused on power and ROTC workouts often focused on endurance, it took Smith a long time to adjust to the lifestyle. For example, Chucky says there have been many days where football workouts require him to bulk up and and powerlift, while those for ROTC will require him to run three miles the next morning.
While football and ROTC may be very different to Chucky physically, he also believes they are mentally very similar. Many of the lessons he’s learned through both experiences are the same. Football and ROTC have expanded his work ethic and self-discipline. His father has always taught him these values, and these opportunities further emphasize them. These values enter Chucky’s life as a student at Villanova, where hard work and dedication are key to success. He also knows these characteristics will be essential when he serves as a marine, even if, as he states, “the stakes are obviously higher, because you can’t let the guy next to you down.”
Earlier this season, following Villanova’s landmark victory over Temple, Head Coach Mark Ferrante told the press, “Whenever you can have a guy like Chucky Smith who is just an all-around awesome guy, in the classroom, on the field – and obviously he got his opportunity on the field today – he’s going to add to your program to say the least.” Chucky Smith is clearly a great member of not only the Wildcat football team, but the Villanova community as a whole.