Editorial: Why? Here’s Why.

Bison Illustrated editor Nolan Schmidt unpacks the motive behind October’s issue.

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Photo By Nolan P. Schmidt

2020 has been a cesspool of negative energy and events. So much so that there is no shortage of memes, GIFs and internet content suggesting that 2020 is the worst year in recorded human history. It has gotten to the point that many have pondered the notion of what an American history course will look like decades from now. How will the future generations look at this year? And how will they compare it with other horrific time periods in history?


I’m not here to answer those deep internet inquiries. My main point is that negativity has superseded any positivity in the year 2020. So how do we get back into a positive mindset? Is that even a remote possibility? I read an interesting quote earlier that (paraphrasing) said: “Having a positive attitude does not require you to be happy each day. It is having the mindset that even if you have a bad day, better days are ahead.”

I find that to be an especially apropos statement in 2020. It seems that society has only had bad days since March, but what we’re failing to understand is that there are better days ahead, regardless of how bleak things may look now.

That was an inspiring factor behind this issue. North Dakota State student-athletes have seen some downright horrible days in the past seven months. Seasons have been postponed, tournaments have been canceled. It sucks. Yet, these student-athletes continue to move forward knowing that better days are ahead of them. It’s a mindset that so few have adopted in our society and the first ones that seem to have adopted it? They are 18 to 22-year-olds.

Every student-athlete at NDSU continues to stay motivated with the hopes of competing once again. Without much clarity, these young people are taking it day by day, enjoying their time with teammates and coaches in preparation for games that may or may not be played.

But why? Why put in all this work without any certainty of future competition?

Some would say that is irrational optimism. Why continue to forge ahead with no real endgame in sight? I would call it a fervent dedication to their sport, to their teammates, to their coaches and to the community.

That is why they continue.

Recently, the Bison cross country team posted an Instagram photo of themselves practicing. It was accompanied by this quote from Chuck Klosterman:

“In North Dakota, life is about hard work. Everything is based on working hard, regardless of what it earns you.”

It was then followed up with this caption.

“With no competition in the foreseeable future, the words above have never rung more true. Between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., the Bison were working. For what? Not sure. But hard work feels good so we keep going.”

Frankly, if that does not motivate you, there is something wrong with you. That is the sort of positive mindset we all need to adopt. Whether we are striving to reach athletic, academic or professional goals, this is the attitude that puts us back on a normal path as a society.

And I say it again, those motivating us are 18 to 22-year-old kids. That is remarkable.

So in this world of negative energy, my challenge to you is simple: be a Bison. Embrace the mindset that better days are in front of us. Now more than ever, motivating ourselves and working hard to accomplish our goals has become difficult. However, we need hard work and motivation to get out society back to where it was.

Take a page from the Bison book and go out and grind…

Editorial: Why? Here’s Why.
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Published eight times a year, Bison Illustrated provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Bison community in order to help promote the university’s players, coaches, alumni, supporters, staff and fans.


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