Sports: In the End Zone
For engineering major Ryan Conger ’05, senior year is more than the final leg of his undergraduate studies. It’s also the end of his Dartmouth football career. A co-captain of the Big Green team, defensive end Conger started every game of his college career and was First Team All-Ivy his junior and senior years. He succeeded on Thayer School turf as well, serving as a teaching assistant for Professors Ursula Gibson in ENGS 1 (Everyday Technology) and William Lotko in ENGS 21 (Introduction to Engineering) and working in the ice lab with Professor Ian Baker and Research Associate Daniel Iliescu. Recently Conger spoke with Dartmouth Engineer about his senior year transitions.
Q. What did it feel like to walk off the field at your last varsity game?
A. In a word, bittersweet. During the week going into my last game I actually spent quite a bit of time thinking about how lucky I was to be on such a long, strange, and wonderful trip. Rather than being overcome with sadness, as I expected to be, I started to look back and actually appreciate the times I’ve had playing a game I love. When the time came, I was fortunate enough to spend the moment with my family, a few friends, an old coach, and of course my teammates. After playing football since I was nine years old, I was sad at the end of the last game, but I will always be happy for the experiences I have had playing such a great game.
Q. How did you deal with the 2004 season 1-9 win-loss record?
A. Unfortunately things didn’t follow our plan for the season. It is heartbreaking to put so much time and effort into something and not reap the benefits of your labor. In the end we can look back on the season and we can say that we never gave up, no matter how poorly it seemed the cards were stacked against us. We put everything we had into it, and I feel that is the only way we should have done it.
Q. You were known for visualizing games and plays. Is this how you approach engineering?
A. I think almost any engineer would agree that there is a huge element of visualization in any problem solving. While the visualization is quite different between the two, I think they are closely related. Most people believe that football is almost entirely a physical game, but there is a tremendous amount of mental preparation that goes into it as well.
Q. What’s ahead for you in engineering?
A. I plan on pursuing my B.E. and M.E.M. at Thayer in the future. Ultimately I think I’ll pursue a career related with engineering, though I’m not sure how at this point.
Q. Will you still play football?
A. For the time being, I’m trying to pursue a career in professional football. I’ve been training for the NFL draft at home in New Jersey. I had some flexibility in my D-Plan that allowed me to take my winter term of my senior year off to devote my time and energy to pursuing a dream I have always had. Hopefully, things in that field will work out and I’ll put off my graduate studies at Thayer for a few years.