Nov. 19, 2009
Madison, Wis. - There is nothing in life that compares to growing up in a big family. If you don’t believe it, Wisconsin’s linebacker Chris Borland can tell you all about it. Borland grew up in a family of seven children in Kettering, Ohio, something that most players on the Wisconsin football team didn’t get to experience.
Being the sixth out of seven children was “busy but a lot of fun with so many activities going on all the time,” says Borland, who recorded a career-high of ten tackles against Iowa on Oct. 17. Each and every one of Borland’s siblings practiced some sport in high school, something that kept every member in the family on the go at all times. From soccer to basketball, track, football or dancing; you name it, the Borland family always had something to do.
“I think they have been at more games than any other parents that I’ve ever met,” Borland said of his parents Jeff and Zebbie Borland. “They didn’t have to encourage us much [to practice sports] because we wanted to do it so badly, but they did a great job giving us the freedom to play all day under some limited rules.”
But Chris is not the only one in his family that got to enjoy college sports. His older brother Matt played soccer at Wittenberg University, breaking the school record of assists and finishing his career with 27 goals, 30 assists and 84 total points. Two of his other brothers also succeeded in college sports. John played soccer at Army while Mark decided to play basketball at Wittenberg University. “I was probably Mark’s biggest fan when he played basketball in high school. Watching all of them play their sports helped me become a better player,” Borland said.
While Borland admitted that it is hard to say which one of his siblings motivated him the most throughout his career, he said he spent most of his time with his brother Matt playing all kinds of sports. “We were the closest in age, so he always had me playing football, baseball or basketball with him and his friends in our neighborhood, so that helped me a lot growing up,” Borland said.
Now that Chris is in college, he tries to keep in touch with his siblings and parents as much as he can. “I talk to most of them weekly and we talk football or what they’re up to,” Borland said. However Chris assures that even though his family supports him tremendously, they want him to keep his feet on the ground. “I get calls after good plays and such but they try not to give me a lot of praise; they try to keep me grounded and keep me going more than anything.”
By Isabel Alvarez, UW golfer