Even from a young age, Ethan Bly was involved in sports.
His father said that Ethan has been an athlete his whole life.
“Ethan started playing football in the third grade and he started track in the seventh grade,” said Ethan’s father Tom Bly. As Ethan puts it, “I just enjoy competing and pushing myself to be better. In no way am I like a super star athlete but I’ve been lucky to be able to come here and run.”
When one of his coaches was asked about Ethan’s abilities on the field, Assistant Coach Beau Theriot had nothing but high praise.
“When you look at him he’s sort of a bigger man, but despite that he’s quick. He’s a real good short sprinter. Give him something in the 60-meter, 100-meter or 200-meter events. He’s good at that,” Theriot said.
Ethan is probably most known for his accomplishments on the field, what people aren’t likely familiar with is what Ethan does off of the field. Ethan is a public relations major.
After encountering a rough time with Biology as a major, Ethan came to the conclusion that he didn’t want to earn a degree in something he didn’t enjoy. When questioned about his choice in current major Ethan said, “I’m good at public speaking and thinking on my feet. I have a big personality and I thought I could put that to use.”
The change in major did not escape his coaches. “He’s a really good student and gets good grades. He’ll easily graduate in four years,” Coach Theriot said about Ethan’s academic performance.
Beyond his academic performance Ethan is involved in a fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta. “It’s great to be a part of a brotherhood that’s close. It’s good to know you have guys who will always have your back – guys who push you to better yourself in school and life,” Ethan said. Ethan also served in the leadership of his fraternity. “Serving on the executive board was a great experience. It was awesome to be a part of the leadership and be someone who represents the fraternity,” Ethan said.
Music has also been a part of Ethan’s life from a young age. “He started school band in the sixth grade, playing the drums,” Tom Bly said.
For three years Ethan was involved in his own band. “I played the drums. We just wanted to see what kind of music we could make and hopefully get to share it with people,” Ethan said. His band Today In History shared their music with people all over the state. “It was a bunch of best friends hanging out and being creative. It was a nice release, especially playing a show because that’s when you let it all loose,” Ethan said.
In addition to being in a band, Ethan spent time working for Camp War Eagle. “I was part of the lake crew. It was a job I was made for since I grew up on a lake,” Ethan said. Ethan was personally impacted by the job. “What I really enjoyed about it was the fact that some of those kids, especially the younger ones, never had been on a boat before. Just being able to share memories and be a part of those kids lives – helping them experience a brand new thing was amazing,” Ethan said.
When looking at Ethan’s Facebook page it is apparent that he spreads a message of equality and helping others.
“People always look down on people with mental disabilities as if they are inferior or just plain dumb, when that’s not the case at all,” Ethan said. He went on to say that they just process things differently than you or me. “Someone with a disability are their own person and deserve to be treated just as good as anyone else,” Ethan said.
Overseas service trips are something Ethan is unconvinced about. “People in poverty stricken countries need more than just a few scriptures and songs read to them. Those people are hungry, a lot are sick and hurting. They need food, shelter, water, medical care,” Ethan said.
Ethan spoke of how he feels sometimes people participate in a service trip for the recognition. “I think sometimes people do them because they want to feel the reward or feel like they are a good person, when it should be an everyday thing,” Ethan said. He went on to say that there are ways to serve here at home. “There are so many opportunities in our own back yard. Right here in Conway, there’s kids who probably go to sleep hungry because their parents can’t afford dinner,” Ethan said.
Ethan might be best described by his father’s own words. “It’s always amazed me how many parents said it was great having him over. He was just the kind of kid you want over because he is so courteous,” Tom Bly said.
His father talks about how he feels Ethan has always been very personable.
“I would say that he’s never met a stranger. Even during the track meet he’ll be visiting with the other teams, he has created lasting relationships from it,” Tom said. Ethan puts his track involvement into perspective by saying, “I like being part of a team and helping my teammates push themselves as well. I like to run, it’s fun for me!”
image via Facebook