Goat Wrestling Perseverance

Episode 36 - NFL. Bachelorette. Dare Devil. Coach. Teacher. An interview with Ryan Hoag and he knows perseverance with host Dave Swanson

June 27, 2019 Season 2 Episode 36
Goat Wrestling Perseverance
Episode 36 - NFL. Bachelorette. Dare Devil. Coach. Teacher. An interview with Ryan Hoag and he knows perseverance with host Dave Swanson
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Goat Wrestling Perseverance
Episode 36 - NFL. Bachelorette. Dare Devil. Coach. Teacher. An interview with Ryan Hoag and he knows perseverance with host Dave Swanson
Jun 27, 2019 Season 2 Episode 36
Dave Swanson / Ryan Hoag

Ryan Scott Hoag is a former American football wide receiver. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the final pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, earning him the title of Mr. Irrelevant. He played college football at Gustavus Adolphus.

Hoag has also been a member of the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Edmonton Eskimos, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Sentinels. Hoag currently works as a substitute teacher at his alma mater, Washburn High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also a tennis instructor at ICC.

He was also on the Bachelorette Season 4.

Dave Swanson

Website

Book 

Goat Wrestling Perseverance Clothes 

Free Chapter of my Bestselling Book? 

Show Notes Transcript

Ryan Scott Hoag is a former American football wide receiver. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the final pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, earning him the title of Mr. Irrelevant. He played college football at Gustavus Adolphus.

Hoag has also been a member of the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Edmonton Eskimos, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Sentinels. Hoag currently works as a substitute teacher at his alma mater, Washburn High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also a tennis instructor at ICC.

He was also on the Bachelorette Season 4.

Dave Swanson

Website

Book 

Goat Wrestling Perseverance Clothes 

Free Chapter of my Bestselling Book? 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/GWPPodcast)

Announcer:
0:01
Welcome to goat wrestling perseverance podcast with your host, Dave Swanson. He's wrestled with goats, climbed mountains and bicycled across America. He wants to help you with your dreams and goals with one perseverance story at a time.
Dave Swanson:
0:22
Welcome to goat wrestling perseverance podcast. Today I have a guest who is a 2018 hall of fame recipient at Gustavus Adolphus. He was also on season four of the bachelor ret. Not only that, he was drafted in 2003 by the Oakland Raiders and today he is a tennis coach currently doing teaching as an artist at an upstream nonprofit. And today I just want to say, Ryan, thanks for being on the show today.
Ryan Hoag:
0:53
Hey, happy to be on the show.
Dave Swanson:
0:55
All Right Ryan on the show here, everybody knows in the audience that we jump right into the story. So I think you told me a little bit and this is a pretty interesting story and the thought of perseverance in your NFL career.
Ryan Hoag:
1:10
Yup. And so I guess I'll take you back to um, my freshman year at wake forest and that's kind of where this idea of perseverance really resonates. When I look back at my athletic career and I, uh, I walked onto the soccer team actually back then and, uh, anybody that knows soccer, knows that wake forest is Division One ACC, top 25 a team. And I was a good soccer player in high school, all conference. But I was by no means, you know, three, four, five star guy that was getting, you know, looks at colleges, um, to go and, and I decided to walk on and, and I had my own walk on in the spring opportunity and played out of my mind and absolutely just dominated my trial to the point where, uh, the coaches we're, you know, kind of taken back. They came up and met with me after practice and we're just like, essentially we like what we see come back tomorrow and my division one opportunity right there. Um, and so I turned a one day try out into an opportunity for a lifetime that nobody really gets. Cause when I even asked the coach for the tryout, he kind of laughed and he was like, you do realize like, this is division one soccer. We don't just kind of let anybody trout. And I knew a couple of guys on the team because I was dating a friend of theirs and a, she introduced me to them. And anyways, long story short, they aye, Aye drop names and was able to get this tryout. And like I said, to this day, I don't think I've played better soccer than that, that out. Um, well they told me to be back the next day for actual practice, 7:00 AM and my roommate woke me up at 8:00 AM and to this day I don't know what happened. I had my alarm clock set correctly and I just, I overslept. And uh, I essentially showed up to the next practice and the coaches were so upset and cut me essentially after that practice on the spot. And, um, there was my division one opportunity out the window. I, I ended up, uh, being devastated of course. And I actually kind of so down on soccer, uh, that I ended up transferring and picking up football. And, uh, from there, uh, yeah Gustavus Adolphus Office college ended up getting drafted in the 2003 NFL draft and, uh, had, uh, had a nine year career, um, of professional football. And I look back and by no means was I, you know, everyday starter or a pro ball or anything in the NFL, but I was a, I was a kid that, you know, the division three mentality in general is one that, uh, kind of prides themselves on blue collar approach and we play for the love of the game. mean, we're buying our own cleats, we're buying our own, our own gloves and things like that. Um, so once I ended up getting drafted, you know, I understood that, you know, you're more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to be drafted into the NFL. And then once you're in the NFL, I mean, you have one as a seventh round draft pick, which I was, I think you have a 11% chance of sticking around. And then with that, I think you two and a half years is the average lifespan of a NFL careers. So, um, you know, I kind of pride myself on bucking the trend and just define those odds. Not only was I the first division three player ever to be draft or ever to be invited to the NFL combine. So that was a first, you know, I got drafted by the Oakland was cut, but I didn't let that hold me down. And I thought back to the perseverance and resilience I had from that disappointment at wake forest that I didn't allow that to. You know, I kind of understand that there's bigger, a bigger reason for everything and kind of that I needed to, you know, not dwell on that and kind of make the best out of the situation. So I ended up trying a different sport and it ended up working out for me. And, um, you know, you fast forward nine years and I've cut 15 times in the NFL, uh, or know professional football or so, but, uh, ended up having a successful career. My mind, maybe I didn't achieve all the accolades I wanted or this and that, but there's not a lot of people that can say, you know, they a division three player, they play for five NFL teams that played in NFL year of, they played in Canada, that played for the arena league that plays for the UFL. Um, I even played in Italy, uh, just recently, um, for a little fun while I was doing modeling there. But, uh, you know, and the best thing about the football opportunity was obviously you being able to be a competitor every day, but also it opened up so many opportunities for me outside of football. And you spoke about the bachelor at, um, pretty sure that part of the reason I got on a show like that was because of this allure of this professional athlete moniker that they could highlight. And, um, so, you know, this idea of, um, you know, I could be a person that was just disappointed with the fact that they got cut or you know, in 2004 when I was playing for the Minnesota Vikings playing unbelievable football and I was scheduled to be a starter in one of the games and I show up to the stadium, uh, and my Jersey's not in the locker, it's a sweatsuit. And they made a decision the night before that I was, I went from starting kick returner to was going to watch the game and you know, all these things people could lament and really allow themselves to get into this, um, what was me or you know, upset with this person or this person or this coach. I just kind of use that as fuel and motivation to a springboard me to the next opportunity. And because of that, I lasted, you know, longer than Charles Rogers, who was the number one receiver in the draft that year. Who was the number two pick in the draft? I was number two 62. And you know, that was always my goal. I wanted to last. I wanted it to be the last one standing as far as receivers from my draft class a Andre Johnson ended up, uh, achieving that and he lasted a lot longer than I did. But, uh, I was proud that I definitely defied odds and in played a lot longer than the two and a half year expecting expected. Mark.
Dave Swanson:
7:29
That is such an amazing story, right? I mean, there's so many things that I want to ask questions about, but I've got to go back, uh, you know, to, to tell the audience a little bit about myself as well. I don't know if many of them know that before I ended up getting accepted to west point, I had a basketball scholarship at a junior college and about a month into the junior college I realized I was going to get red shirted I was not playing well. It, it just didn't feel right. And I'm guessing after playing soccer and doing that whole thing where you know, the 8:00 AM versus 7:00 AM, there was a point there where you said, this isn't for me any longer and you decided to transfer. What was kind of, what were people telling you at that moment that when you quit wake force and you said, I'm packing up and moving, what were some of the things you heard and what was the mentality you had saying, no, I'm going to go over to this next school and I'm going to be successful at it. So I'm definitely interested in hearing that.
Ryan Hoag:
8:28
Yeah, that's a great question because, um, that, uh, I, I remember guys that I w played sports with in high school, kind of laughing at the idea of me just switching and wanting to pick up football on a whim because I was really good soccer, tennis and basketball player all throughout high school. And I played one year of football in my life before my sophomore year of college. Um, and when I did, I was a quarterback, so I had no really business wide receiver. Um, any level, let it go low on the level of the, so that I got to, but I remember and I let that the haters kind of fuel my fire. I remember people really questioning like, wait, you're switching from soccer to football? Yeah, good luck. You know, regardless of the fact that the division three, nobody just does that, you know, you're not going to be able to do that. And you know, it was people that ended up being in my conference, uh, and the mic conference and I was just like, okay, well we'll, we'll see what happens when we, when we play you guys. And I just vividly remember, you know, just having that, you know, kind of echo on the back of my mind after each, each season or each game or each practice of, you know, kind of what got me going and what really motivated me is people starting to doubt the fact that, you know, hey, okay, you can't do this. And I was just like, why can't I watch me? And I'm any, anybody that knows me as anything I put my mind to. I try to be the best at. And you know, that sounds cliche and most people try to do that, but I was really focused on, I'm proving the haters wrong.
Dave Swanson:
10:02
Yeah. It seems like you've got a similar mentality and you know, when we have people around us that ask us, why are you doing this? You always seem to come back with the same question saying, why not? You know, it's, it's why not, you know, why can't I do this? And one of those things that I think that I'd like to hear about is you get invited as a division three wide receiver to the combine. This does not happen for the audience that's out there. This does not happen ever. You know what I mean? You may get one every 10 15 maybe 20 years division three wide receiver and there you are standing next to these five star athletes that were recruited as wide receivers since eighth grade playing football and you would only start playing and been playing for like three years at this point. What was that like? You know, I mean there's gotta be some vindication for you saying, I'm standing next to all these people, not knowing where you're going to end up, but what was that kind of feeling standing next to the best of the best? Not everybody gets invited to that.
Ryan Hoag:
11:03
Sure. Yeah. You know, it was kind of an eye opening experience because it was the first time I started to really believe that I belonged. And you know, because you watched this guy playing for Notre Dame on NBC each week you watch this person claim for this school, University of Miami or Ohio state or whatever it might be in your like, wow, you know, that's really, really impressive. And then you go and do drills alongside them and you're catching them all as good or better than them. You're running as good eroticism. You're just as fast or faster than them. You have a higher vertical than them and you start understanding, oh, just because you know, there weren't as many eyes. I mean, doesn't mean that I'm not as capable or more capable. It just means that people don't know me. And then you add in the fact that I had this, you know, mentality of I am playing this game because I love it. Not because people have been telling me how great I've been all my life. I've had to work my tail. If I've had to, you know, I didn't have, we barely even, you know, are waiting program, uh, you know, pales in comparison to any division two, division three our field, you know, it goes down and like I said, paying for my own cleats or playing for my own gloves. Like once you get to that level, you recognize like, oh well if I drop a pass, that's okay. And that was one of the biggest things my rookie year when you would see these guys that you were just marvel add on TV the year before and they make one mistake and practice and they have the next week, they are just awful because not only are they around athletes that are at as good as them, but for the first time in their life, to your point, they haven't been or they've been told they're the next great thing. They're the five star, they're silver spoon. They've been given [inaudible] advantage. If they make a mistake, it's like, oh, we know you're going to make the next 29. Don't worry about it. Now when you get to the pros and everybody's on the same plane, they make a mistake and it's like you're a disgrace. You are a joke. He this and that and these guys don't know how to handle it and they just tanked. And whereas, you know, nobody likes to hear that. But for me, you know, it was a little easier to um, persevere through those kinds of things cause it's like, oh well, you know, nobody thought I was going to be here anyway and I got into here by hard work so I'm just going to keep out working yet. And it's okay because nobody's ever thought I was going to be great. So that's fine. There's going to be haters everywhere. If my coach is gonna be a hater, I'll just try to prove them wrong as well.
Dave Swanson:
13:41
I just love this mentality. And there's one more thing we'll, we'll talk about is, I don't know if the audience caught that, that you had been cut 15 times in nine years and it's not enough to say I was cut once or by the eighth or ninth cut. It's like, okay, maybe I shouldn't be in the NFL. You continued even after your 14th cut from a team to say, Hey, I, the dream is still alive for me. When you know, how did that, how does that work for you? How does that, I know you kind of mentioned it already. You say, well I'll just catch the next pass and I think that's what we're lacking a lot in life where, hey, I did a, you know for the average person out there, I didn't do so great on a presentation at work and they really are down on themselves for three months, six months or so. But when you're in that sport like the way you were and how much action is going on, you have to pick it up by the very next play. You can't just go on about it for months at a time and I just, I'd like to hear that part of it. Like, I mean after this 14th cut, you obviously are going to have those people around you again. Like Ryan, give it up, man. It's over. And yet you still went back there and still gave it another shot. Just yeah. You know, that's incredible.
Ryan Hoag:
14:57
Yeah. Well thank you. I, you know, the, the unique thing about the NFL and, and a lot of professional sports, but I'd say specifically the NFL is because there was no guarantee contracts, right. Everyday is a job interview and you can feel great about life and you're spot on the team and then you have one bad practice or you get one injury and you're going to be out for awhile and you no longer have a job. So dealing with the adversity of facing a job interview every single day. And I went through, you know, probably upwards of 16 training camps maybe in my nine years because you know, once I was done with one league, I might go and play in another league or it gets sent to NFL Europe, which is another training camp. And all right. So I played essentially with my back against the wall every single day in every practice. We didn't have time to, you know, cry over spilled milk. Uh, a really cliche goes right. So it had to be a mentality, but that really transformed my sinking and massage, kind of my understanding of, you know, what it takes for preparation, what it takes for, you know, having a, a short memory and things like that. So I, uh, I was able to, you know, continued to believe in myself, but I also saw that I kept getting better. That was the thing, you know, I mean, I was such a raw talent and there's raw talent, you know, that ran the fastest three cones, shuttle drill, anybody up to combine, had a 38 and a half inch vertical at the comment, you know, so I was, my numbers were top five draftable probably work really. Um, but as just a person that, you know, and then six to 200 who was just person that's really never played football and especially at this level. So I just took time for me to get there. And so I saw myself continually get better and better and better. And you know, teams struggling to find reasons to cut me, you know, and as you know, there's so much politics that go into it, but, you know, I was told every single reason in the book, and you know, I'm very mindful if it's a talent thing, like my, my rookie year at Oakland, I wasn't good enough like that. There's no doubt in my mind, like I just wasn't good enough. I should have made the team. But then my second, third, fourth, fifth, like I absolutely, that was good enough and better than some of those guys that made the team. But, you know, you have a draft pick or political whatever, a lot of that stuff falls by the wayside. Um, but, you know, I, I just saw myself continue to get better and I was like, well, if I'm continuing to get better and my body's still healthy, I still haven't achieved the goals I want to achieve. I'm going to keep doing it. And then, uh, eventually, why didn't you for number 16? It got to a point where it was, I was still getting better. I still put myself in a great position and I had earned a spot on the team and didn't make it and fell into the politics and I was just like, you know what, I'm done. And I just, I just made that decision because I'm as or more passionate about educating others and working as a coach and a teacher than I am playing football. Football just happen to be a sport. I was a good sorry. Even though maybe I haven't gotten all my goals, maybe it's just not meant to be. And I'm getting to an age where it's probably time to move on. And if you're not making, you know, six figures playing football, it's, it can where on you and it was time to move on.
Dave Swanson:
18:34
Well I think something that you've done that you learned so well there is, you said on a daily basis my back was against the wall and now as a tennis coach and now as a teacher at upstream arts that you're doing that and not only are you teaching and coaching, you're teaching it with that mentality to people that are going to go on to do. And the great things with what you're serving them with. And I think that's, that's impressive. Do you want to talk a little bit more about upstream arts and what you're doing there as well?
Ryan Hoag:
19:05
Sure. Yeah. Upstream Arts is a nonprofit based in Minneapolis, uh, where I'm from. And, and the, our mission is to, uh, improve the social and communication skills of individuals with disabilities. And we use the arts to teach that. So, uh, painting poetry, uh, theater games, Improv acting, a song, dance, we use that to really empower, um, each and every individual with disability of any age to really have more voice and choice. And, um, you know, I have an elementary ed background. Uh, we have a number of professional artists on staff from actors to dancers to, um, musicians and, uh, we use a multidisciplinary approach, um, to do 12 week residencies with, you know, um, might be a middle school, uh, class with autism. And we're finding different ways to extrapolate their amazing skill sets that aren't tapped into because the lack of resources in the arts, uh, you don't necessarily find in the school system. And we use different ways to give them opportunities for their voice to be heard. And a, it's a really, really special thing to me. I do a lot of the curriculum writing. I do a lot of the coaching of our staff, but I do a ton of teaching as well, which is obviously what's most important to me. And uh, we really, we really make some amazing, uh, strides with each of our, uh, incredible actors. Um, and we're also an advocacy group, so we work towards establishing policy change, um, from the top down to really find different ways to, uh, create opportunities for individuals with disabilities to have the same. Okay. You know, amazing. Okay. A or rights as any other American.
Dave Swanson:
21:06
Well, Ryan, I'm just glad to have you on the show today. I think it's so important that you share your mentality and the way that you think, not just through football, but kind of everything you've done in life and you're out there still continuing to do that by giving back as a coach and as a teacher, I think you're just doing amazing things. So thank you again for being on the show. I'm so impressed with this story.
Ryan Hoag:
21:29
Hey man , happy to share my story and thanks for, thanks for Liz
Speaker 4:
21:35
[inaudible].
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