Waterloo Region Record
WATERLOO — While Rashari Henry was a high school senior and recruited by several universities, he did what any good student does — he researched his options.
Henry was interested in finding out more about the unique demands of a student-athlete.
Only problem for the now 20-year-old Ottawa native and starting defensive end for football’s Laurier Golden Hawks was there wasn’t much information available.
“There was some stuff online — not very much and it was mostly about the American experience,” said Henry.
And so this past May, with the help of some friends, Henry launched a blog,www.stathblog.com, to address that need.
An amalgam of the words student and athlete, the “stath” blog’s mission is to build a network of student-athletes which would foster success in academics, athletics and their personal lives.
The blog contains helpful information for aspiring student-athletes — like survival tips once they land on campus — and a glimpse into the lives of established varsity athletes from across the country in a Q and A format.
Since June, the blog has already reached 75,000 page views, so he and his staff — fellow varsity athletes at Laurier, Serena Gill, Natalie Barry, Jake Gassler and Dunia Badawani — think they have stumbled upon something big.
“It has the potential to grow and to move into the States,” said Henry.
The blog’s interviews are conducted by student “ambassadors” themselves from across Canada. And the blog, which also features videos, has already profiled student-athletes from places like Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier and Manitoba’s Brandon University.
One entry is dedicated to the compelling story of former Laval and University of Guelph quarterback Alex Skinner, a Vanier Cup champ, whose varsity career was derailed by bogus assault charges.
All charges against Skinner, stemming from an incident in a Quebec parking lot and involving an off-duty police officer, were dropped this past summer but a punishing sentence meted out by the court of public opinion remains.
Henry’s desire to help others navigate the path to adulthood is genuine, said Laurier’s athletic director.
“Rashari is a real gentle soul,” said Peter Baxter. “You can see that when you read his blog. It’s about the human elements of a student-athlete.
“You can’t think of a better role model than Rashari himself.”
The third-year economics student is also a key member of Laurier’s fearsome defensive front, a big, relentless unit that has helped carry the 4-1 (won-lost) Hawks to the upper echelon in the Ontario conference.
The six-foot, 260-pounder amazes his football coach off the field, too.
Along with his studies and maintaining the website, Henry also holds down a part-time job working at a campus pub.
“Rashari is like a sponge — he’s always seeking information,” said Hawks head coach Michael Faulds.
“What impressed me most is how quickly this blog came about. And the articles and videos on the blog are new and fresh. It’s one thing to have a website but to have new material all the time is something else.”
Henry said he hasn’t yet landed sponsors for the project but hopes to in the near future.
“The feedback has been positive,” Henry said. “Some of my teammates ask me when I am going to feature them.
“They tell me they read it all the time.”