Football | Freshmen balance faith, football
Weaver, Hartmann prepare for two-year Mormon mission
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2012 08:11
On a cool fall Sunday afternoon in Cambridge, Justin Weaver and Wes Hartmann are standing outside the University Ward, posing for a picture.
“Let’s do something sexy,” Hartmann says, barely cracking a smile. “Get on my shoulders.”
“Dude, I don’t wanna get on your shoulders,” Weaver replies.
By now, the two have perfected their shtick. Hartmann, a linebacker, plays the funny man, and Weaver, a running back, the straight man.
Eventually Hartmann gives in, and the freshmen roommates stand still, put their arms around each other and smile. In their free hands, each holds a small zip-up bag. Weaver’s is blue and Hartmann’s is red, but they’ve switched for the picture — it works better with the lighting.
Inside those bags is the Book of Mormon. Inside that book is the life they have chosen to lead.
While watching a team workout during his recruiting visit to Tufts last year, Weaver, who grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, asked head coach Jay Civetti to tell him about some of his players.
One of them was sophomore Kyle Duke, who went on his Mormon mission to Washington state right after high school.
“[Civetti] said, ‘Oh, this guy’s kind of interesting — he went on a Mormon mission,’” Weaver said. “I was like, ‘Actually, I think I’m gonna do that.’”
When he mentioned to other coaches that he would be gone for two full years after his freshman season, some were taken aback. But Civetti was different.
“Coach Civetti was saying that he respects that we decided to do that, and that it shows what kind of people we are,” Weaver said. “I liked that.”
Though Civetti didn’t recruit Duke or Atticus Swett, another Mormon on the team currently serving his mission in Budapest, he has created an environment that is accepting of Mormon athletes.
“I think it can be a real positive,” Civetti said. “You’re gonna get back a 20-year-old sophomore who’s experienced things in life a lot different than your average sophomore or your average 20-year-old.”
By the time Hartmann flew to visit Tufts from Orange County, California, Weaver had already committed. Though Hartmann probably would have chosen Tufts anyway, learning that another Mormon was coming was the icing on the cake.
After that, it was Duke who helped bring Weaver and Hartmann together.
“I didn’t know there was another Mormon on the team until Kyle Duke told me in the summer that we should be roommates,” Weaver said.
“I don’t know how I got your number,” Hartmann said. “Oh, yeah — we found each other on Facebook.”
And a friendship was born.
Alcohol, coffee and premarital sex are three major components of many college students’ experiences.
Mormon law prohibits all three.
Though Weaver and Hartmann have come to embrace the lifestyle, at Tufts they’ve had to make some adjustments.
“It was pretty rough the first month,” Weaver said. “I’d always had friends [in high school] who weren’t Mormon because I was on the football team, but they kind of tried to hide things from me that they knew that I wouldn’t be a part of. I hadn’t been around a lot of the stuff that goes on here on a daily basis.”
Hartmann put his experiences balancing his Mormon faith and social life at Tufts more bluntly.
“In high school, people are doing all kinds of things on the weekends; it’s not expected to be drinking,” he said. “But here, it’s like the weekend is drinking and doing crazy stuff. I’m down for crazy stuff, just not drinking.”
In addition to resisting the temptations of college life, Weaver and Hartmann have spent a lot of time answering questions about their faith. The most common one: Can you have multiple wives?