As a former standout high school athlete, and now a college football player, Robert Holtz knows all about taking care of his body.
During his days as a regular on the Springfield High School football team, nutrition was an integral part of maintaining the strength and endurance necessary to stay healthy for an entire season.
Now, as he builds muscle and mass ahead of a second season of football competition at Tiffin University, Holtz continues to emphasize steady nutrition alongside rigorous strength training in order to keep pace with NCAA Division II student-athletes.
However, proper hydration and food intake are not the only examples of Holtz being diligent about what goes into his body.
Holtz, a 2020 Springfield High School graduate, received his first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week at the Clark County Combined Health District. Getting vaccinated, Holtz said, was a priority to take care of as soon as possible as he prepares to move back onto campus and football practice begins in earnest.
Because of the ease of access and widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccines, Holtz will be able to complete his Pfizer vaccination series at a provider in Seneca County by showing his vaccination card from his first shot at CCCHD.
“I wanted to get vaccinated so that I could be protected against COVID-19 and this Delta variant, and to stay healthy this entire football season,” Holtz said as a CCCHD nurse registered him for his shot.
Tiffin University contested its 2020 football season just this past spring. The displaced, shortened season impacted training, as well as his overall experience, Holtz said.
“That’s definitely not something I want to have to do again,” he said. “Getting this shot will keep me on the field and help us to have a regular football season.”
Necessary protocols implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are other reasons why Holtz ultimately decided to get vaccinated.
“Looking over all the protocols and all the other stuff you have to do if you’re not vaccinated, it’s really just easier to get the shot and get it over with,” Holtz said, adding that he understands why some people might still be hesitant.
“I get why people are cautious,” he said. “But I think talking to people that you trust like your family and friends about why they got it, you start to realize it’s safe.”
For Holtz, that person was his “Paw-Paw,” Otis Williams.
Williams has lived in Springfield his entire life, remains active in the Springfield Peace Keepers neighborhood watch organization, regularly attends public meetings and is an active advocate for the community. He is also a father and grandfather and has been very influential to “Lil Rob” even as
Holtz grew into a 6’3”, 275-pound collegiate interior defensive lineman.
Williams recalls with a laugh the number of cases of bottled water he stores for his grandson so that he has enough to take with him back to campus. Saturday mornings frequently include Holtz phoning “Paw Paw” to ask what time breakfast will be ready.
“Usually about 10:30,” Williams said while Holtz received his shot. “I’ll tell him to come on over and I make sure there’s plenty of the kinds of food he needs to stay healthy and ready for football.”
Those weekend breakfasts nourish more than just the body, though, as Williams helps to guide his grandson through college years and into adulthood. In this age of coronavirus and conflicting messaging, that also means direction on whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I waited at first before I got my shot to see what this virus will do, but I see now what it’s doing to people, especially people my age who aren’t vaccinated,” Williams said.
“There comes a time when you have to come to your own decision and do the right thing.”
For Holtz, that decision meant getting the shot and becoming vaccinated.
“I do try to be a good example for others, and so if younger kids from Springfield or my teammates at Tiffin see me getting the shot, hopefully that’ll help make them decide to get it, too,” he said, striking a tone that sounds a lot like his grandfather.