For Tyler Levanduski, it is a mantra that guides him in all facets of his life.
A safety on the Heidelberg University football team, Levanduski will return to the gridiron this fall having missed 2012 season while fulfilling obligations to the Marine Corps Reserves.
And what a season to miss. The 2012 team finished 9-2, which included a trip to the postseason for the first time since 1972.
Levanduski did not plan to miss the season, though. After spending time in boot camp and combat training, he was sent to California to begin job training in data and networking. The job training took longer than expected, which cut into the fall semester.
"The hardest phone call was to Coach Jake (secondary coach Branden Jakubcin), telling him I wasn't going to make it back in time," said Levanduski. "Our defense had come so far under Coach (Scott) Donaldson. I wanted to be a part of that."
Despite being in California, he remained faithful and connected to his team throughout the fall.
"I watched every single game and was glued to the live stats," said Levanduski, a business and criminal justice major from Amherst. "Coach Jake and I would talk after each game. It was nice to know they hadn't forgotten about me."
The ball-hawking Levanduski, with eight career interceptions, was an integral part of the resurgent Heidelberg defense. He credits enthusiastic and effective coaching, which helped change the culture of the program.
"When I first arrived, our attitude was, 'Let's get more than four wins,' where some of the younger guys would skip lifting and weren't truly connected," explained Levanduski. "Coach Donaldson and Coach Filli (Corey Fillipovich) changed that. We began to push each other because we all had the will to get better."
Donaldson took over the defense before the 2011 season. After finishing last in the OAC in scoring defense for three straight years, the unit finished fourth in 2011 and second last season.
When the Student Princes received an at-large bid into the NCAA playoffs last November, Levanduski congratulated Fillipovich.
"He told me that I didn't need to offer congratulations," said Levanduski. "I was still a part of the team and contributed to the success of the program."
Levanduski remains faithful to the Marines and to The Berg. He still spends one weekend a month and three weeks in the summer with the Marine Corps. For someone who wants to pursue a career with the DEA or the FBI, the experience with the Marines is invaluable. Coupled with the education he receives in the classroom, he is primed for success upon graduation.