The world is NOT looking for the average man
Who finds it an honor with the mediocre to stand,
And finishes the race in the middle of the pack
While the world goes on and never looks back.
Jim Bain’s poem, “The Average Man” — excerpted throughout this story — is posted in the garage, game room and loft at the Rausa home in Murrieta, Calif.
It’s also in the locker and Boise home of Tyler Rausa, the Boise State football team’s junior kicker.
The words form something of a mission statement for the Rausas, with three boys who are accomplished athletes raised by a father who is a high school coach and dean of students and mother who is a cheer coach.
Coach Bryan Harsin even read the poem to the Broncos after Rausa shared it with him.
“You want to be the Champion Man,” Rausa said. “The man who goes out and does everything he can to really prove himself.”
That attitude has turned Rausa into one of the breakout performers on this year’s Broncos team. Not even the stellar first start by true freshman quarterback and fan favorite Brett Rypien could obscure the kicker’s showing last week at Virginia: four made field goals, including a 51-yarder, and a 54-yarder that was well struck but smacked the right upright. The 51-yarder was the longest by a Bronco since 2009.
Rausa earned a chance to compete for a starting job and scholarship at Nevada, which instead dropped him at the last minute. He went to a junior college and attracted an offer from Boise State, where he lost a competition for the starting job. He became the starter this year and watched his coaches forgo two long field-goal attempts in the loss at BYU because they didn’t yet trust him from 50-plus yards.
Each situation provided motivation — just like that miss last week. He tried 11 54-yard field goals in practice Tuesday and hit 10 of them (the other, of course, hit the right upright).
“I’m so proud of him because that’s what life is about — life’s about challenges and adversities, and how you react to those challenges and adverse situations is going to create your character,” said Steve Rausa, Tyler’s dad. “Growing up in the Rausa house, he was faced with competitive situations every day.”
The world IS looking for the champion man
Who has the toughness of a calloused hand;
Who is busy at work to improve his skill.
That he might escape being “run of the mill.”
Rausa grew up in sports. His dad is the head freshman football coach and assistant varsity baseball coach at Vista Murrieta High. His older brother, Bryce, is a former Big West steeplechase champion at UC Santa Barbara. His younger brother, Stephen, is a left-handed pitcher at Palomar College.
Rausa, a third baseman, thought he’d play college baseball. He would have played football and baseball at Nevada, where he planned to walk on in 2012 until the school raised its academic standards to limit enrollment and he didn’t make the cut.
He became a kicker in eighth grade, at the suggestion of a friend who also became a college kicker. He spent three years on the high school varsity team, taking the returning starter’s job in the middle of a game his sophomore year.
“He made one kick one game and never looked back,” Steve said.
Rausa was named first-team all-conference each of his three seasons. The Nevada snub sent him to Riverside Community College, where he went 15-for-20 as a freshman.
He transferred to Boise State in 2013 as a scholarship recruit to compete for the starting job. Dan Goodale beat him out, forcing Rausa to wait two more years for his chance.
When Harsin and special teams coach Kent Riddle arrived in 2014, they sensed Rausa was content with his backup role. They challenged him — the beginning of an 18-month rise.
“Rid and Harsin called me in saying, ‘You need to get a whole lot better for next year because you should be the guy,’ ” Rausa said. “It was just mentality. Just going out attacking each day as a new day.”
So to you who are preparing for your life’s work,
Who never intend your job to shirk,
Remember, the champion man could be you,
But only your best will ever do.
The Broncos eased Rausa into the starting role this season. He made field goals of 24 and 31 yards in the first two games. He added a 45-yarder in mop-up time against Idaho State.
Coaches were convinced after fall camp that he would excel on kicks inside 40 yards. When the season began, they pushed him to extend his range toward 50-plus.
But against BYU, they punted instead of trying field goals from 55 and 56 yards in the thin Utah air.
“I had to prove myself that next week in practice and show my leg strength and prove to coaches that I can connect from out there,” Rausa said. “There could have been times where I could have proven it sooner, but I didn’t, and that could have potentially helped us there. But we have it now and they know now I’m comfortable from there.”
Rausa’s consistency from long range has improved in the past three weeks, Riddle said. He made a 60-yarder last week in practice.
“We’re still pushing the consistency from depth,” Riddle said, “but it is nice to know if you walk out there in a 50 to whatever, you’re feeling like we’ve got better than a 50 percent chance.”
Rausa and Riddle won’t be satisfied until that last number hits 100. Rausa didn’t find any fault with his 54-yarder that missed and yet he spent a large portion of Tuesday’s practice making sure he’ll be successful next time.
“I take all this, I’m happy about it, that the kicker is being recognized and the specialists are being recognized — mainly because we’re off to a pretty good start,” Rausa said. “But I need to take it as something to build off for the rest of the season.”