Ranger making the grade

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

When Scott Ranger looks around the classrooms at Vancouver Island University, he can sometimes feels like an old man.

Being that the Calgary Roughnecks forward is excited every day to be a student again, he hardly cares.

Ranger decided last spring he needed a change from the construction jobs he's held since high school and enrolled in the physical education program at VIU in Nanaimo, B.C.

It was a chance for he and wife Jill to head home and for him to find a new career.

"I did the whole, 'I will take one year off' thing. That turned into eight," said the 25-year-old first-year student.

"Now I'm in school with a lot of 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds. It's a bit of an adjustment. The people in my classes don't notice. I act young anyways, so it's cool."

Ranger is in his third season with the Roughnecks, who face the Minnesota Swarm tonight at the Saddledome (7:30 p.m., nll.com TV), and he is still considered a young member of his lacrosse team.

His goal is to eventually become a physical education teacher, which would take about five years of schooling and the right opportunity for a job.

Right now, he's finding the anatomy and physiology classes better than expected.

"I find it very interesting so it's quite a bit easier than when I was in high school," said Ranger, who's already in the second semester.

"I wasn't interested in anything during high school. I love sports, so I love finding out how everything works with body movement and all that fun stuff. It's an adjustment but a good adjustment.

"Every day, I'm there the earliest and I stay the longest. I'm asking questions and I'm fascinated by the material I'm learning.

"It makes it a lot easier when you enjoy what you are learning and studying. The profs make fun of me, 'The old guy sticking around for extra work.' I just really enjoy it."

Going back to school meant moving away from Calgary and away from most of his Roughnecks teammates.

It helped that Jill got a job as a nurse after graduating from the University of Calgary and that both are from Nanaimo so they are closer to family.

For the first time in his NLL career, Ranger is a fly-in player.

"It's a big adjustment because I always lived in the city I played for," Ranger said.

"I was in San Jose the years I was there and obviously in Calgary the past couple years. I'm thankful the Roughnecks gave me the opportunity to do it. It's not as easy as everybody thinks it is."

Although Ranger led the Riggers in scoring last year, he has just three goals in four games this season and sits sixth in team points.

That has more to do with the talent around Ranger than with his play, but still the righty puts pressure on himself to put the ball in the net.

"I was getting quite frustrated with myself because I had better numbers last year," said Ranger.

"(Teammate) Curt Malawsky pulled me aside and asked me what was more important. I said winning and winning that championship.

"Then he said not to worry about it because we're winning. It opened my eyes a bit. I apologized to him. I just hope to pick it up in the next few games."

The Roughnecks had a bye last weekend, and that helped Ranger catch up on his schoolwork.

"Everybody else was watching the Super Bowl, and I was at home being a loser doing my homework," Ranger said.

"I don't even know who won the game."


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