Denver — After finishing in the Broncos weight room on Wednesday, Broncos guard Zane Beadles entered a community classroom to give a presentation on balancing academics and athletics to students at the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists Technical Resource Center.
As a graduate of the University of Utah with a degree in mechanical engineering, Beadles was able to give the group of students first-hand advice on how to succeed in both academics and athletics.
“A lot of people and a lot of kids think you can’t do both athletics and academics,” Beadles said before the program. “While it was difficult going through college, if you really put your mind to it, you can do it. It’s no problem. Kids being able to see that, I think is a good thing because obviously they are interested in sports and things like that, but they can also realize that they can focus on their academics as well.”
He delivered a motivational lecture on strategies that he utilized in college while he was faced with the obstacle of pursuing a difficult major and participating in Division I athletics.
“A lot of people told me I was crazy to try to do engineering and play football at the same time,” Beadles told the students. “A lot of people don’t challenge themselves when they go through college and do athletics. To me, that’s a sad thing.”
He told the group of about 20 students on hand that his way of staying focused was to, “eat the whole pie.”
“When I’m with my family, I’m doing everything with my family,” he explained. “When I’m with my friends, I’m having fun and I’m with my friends. That’s something that I’ve tried to use through my life to stay focused and to get me to where I’m at today.”
Beadles talked about overcoming obstacles and how with the right attitude, the students could accomplish whatever they set their minds to.
“When I was in school I didn’t get a lot of attention as far as colleges go as far as athletics,” he said. “I had two places to go, Utah and Wyoming. A lot of people said, ‘Oh, he’s too small, he’s too slow, he’s not good enough to play here.’ I stayed positive through the whole thing. Going through that showed me that it doesn’t matter what people say or think about you. It really doesn’t matter. You can do anything that you want.”
He stressed taking advantage of the opportunity presented to the students with the Resource Center that is funded through donations from the community. CABPES will hold a fundraising banquet on May 12 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, which Beadles will also participate in as a member of the Center’s advisory board.
“Being perfect is impossible. That isn’t realistic to ask that of yourself,” he concluded. “Strive for perfection and you will achieve excellence.”
Beadles spoke to the group for about 20 minutes before opening the floor to students to ask questions. Below are some of his answers to the wide range of questions that came from the audience:
What types of engineering were you originally interested in?
“I was interested in electrical and mechanical and I went with mechanical.”
If you could only do one, which would you do – engineering or play football?
“I love football and it has blessed me in life more than I can really fathom, but I would go with engineering. Your education is going to be there for the rest of your life. My football career can end tomorrow. I can go in tomorrow and we’ll be working out and I can tweak something and I could never play again. Football can end like that, but nobody can ever take away my education.”
How did you avoid distractions?
“It’s hard. I surrounded myself with people that had the same goals and the same vision. I took everything as it came. Eating the whole pie – when I was studying, I was studying. That’s the only thing I was focused on. When I was at football practice, I was at football practice and that was the only thing I was focused on. When I was with my family, whatever I was doing, I was in that moment completely, as much as I could be.”
Did you have to overcome obstacles to succeed in both school and sports?
“Absolutely. Anything from injuries in sports to people telling me, ‘I don’t know if you want to do engineering, it’s going to be hard,’ that’s an obstacle. People telling me that I wasn’t good enough to play football, things like that.”
“It has been a year and eight months.”
Do you like playing in Denver?
“I love Denver, I love the area, I’m close to family. There’s no other NFL team that would allow me to be this close to my family. I’m very blessed to be here and get up here and talk to you guys.”
How long have you been growing out your hair?
“It has been a year and eight months.”