Recently, our host George Marinos sat down with long-time Hanover Rhinos player Cody Klinefelter, and asked him questions on varying topics.
GM: I’m here with Cody Klinefelter, cornerback, #23 for the Rhinos.
Did you choose the number 23, and what is its significance to you?
CK: Yes, I chose number 23 because the Rhinos were the only team I played for, and when I played in the Santa Bowl, there was only one jersey available, so I picked that up, and when I had the choice to pick a number that was left, I saw number 23 was available, so, I grabbed it. I felt 23 was a number that was picked for me, my mom’s favorite number is 2 and my twin brothers favorite number is 3, it just felt right.
GM: This was before your first Santa Bowl, right?
GM: What was the experience like going into your first game? Were there a lot of nerves?
CK: I was very nervous. I was a wide receiver with no experience, it was exciting and nerve-wracking. After my first play as a wide receiver, I knew I was meant for defense. I never understood why people wanted to play football until I saw what it was like to be a part of a team, and what it was like to win as one, even though I made my mistakes.
GM: You and I both went to Gettysburg High School. Tell the readers about your experience there.
CK: It was a fun, but rocky, experience because my older brother got into a fight with the Chief of Police’s son, so I was worried that I was already labeled as the label he was. I’ve actually raised the bar. I was the first Klinefelter to graduate that is going to carry on the name of my family. I believe I’ve done a good job for representing my family name, and I’m probably the first Klinefelter to actually not be a hell raiser, like my dad and uncles were, from stories that I’ve been told. It was rough when my parents split. I had to work and go to school so my mom didn’t have to work four jobs. I did what I could to keep my grades up to graduate and take care of my family. My twin brother and I shared a car, so it was hard for him and I to get a job, unless we could work at the same place, but I’m sure everyone has their hard times and easy times. I just had to be an adult when I was 16, trying to do what it took to make life easier and less stressful for my family and mom. (Gettysburg) was a good school over all. The teachers were awesome, and our principal, Mr. Strait, was awesome, and made my time at our school very fun. My favorite teacher was Mrs. Whetstone for history. That was my worst subject, and I understood what I needed to learn to pass the class, and she made it easier for me just by the way she teaches. Gym and lunch were my favorite subjects. (Laughs). I looked forward to going to school, the people were great. I wasn’t popular, but I knew everyone. I say that because I wasn’t ever picked first in sports for teams, I always got picked next to last.
GM: Here’s a hot-button question among Gettysburg Alumni- how did you feel about the infamous Gettysburg School District lunch menu item, the hot hambo?
CK: After a while it got that same taste that you knew it was the one and only Gettysburg School Hot Hambo with crispy edges. It was pretty good, just baked a little too long. (laughs).
GM: Did you ever imagine in high school that you would one day be playing semi-pro football?
CK: No. Actually, in high school, I thought I was going to be mechanic, working on bikes and cars, hopefully owning my own shop by 30. Football wasn’t my thing. I was 135 pounds going into senior year and didn’t know how to play. I was taught to be a worker. Sports doesn’t pay the bills, I was told, so NFL was just a game on TV. I thought it would be fun to play, but I’m not lucky enough to weigh as much as one of their legs, and I wouldn’t have a chance. (chuckles).
GM: Now that you’ve experienced playing with the Hanover Rhinos, how would you best describe sports?
CK: The best thing you can do with your life. Playing football became a life style. It became everything I love, and that is family.
GM: Speaking of family, you are starting your own. You are scheduled to get married and expecting a baby. What does this mean to you?
CK: It means a lot. I have a lot of responsibility on my hands, have three sons that are hers, and have a boy on the way, which is my first child, so it kinda feels like I’m running my own football team. I have a rookie and three vets. With this new baby coming, I feel the same way I did when I first got on the team, and helping raise her other three boys feels like my experience working with the team, it’s very exciting. I know there will be ups and downs, like it is on the field, but nothing I can’t handle. I’m very appreciative of this gift I get to experience. Not many 25 year olds can say they have done what I’ve done, or experience what I’ve experienced.
GM: How did you and your fiancée meet?
CK: She was my brother’s boss at one point, and when he introduced me to her, I ignored my feelings, but that moment, I knew she would be perfect for me. Even though I hadn’t gotten the chance to know her yet, it was a feeling I had.
GM: That’s a heartwarming story.
CK: Thank you.
GM: There’s an epic debate gripping America right now. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Everybody has a side, and some are more vocally opinionated on the matter. Which would you vote for as the better pet, cats or dogs, and why?
CK: I’d say a dog, because cats are loving, soft, and very calming, but dogs are the better pets, because they are loyal if trained well. No matter the breed of dog, they obey commands, and act like humans. If you talk to your dog, they will have a reaction to what you’re telling or asking them. They’re protective, and used as service animals, dogs do much more than cats, like lead the blind when needed, sniff out smells that chemicals in bombs are made with, or the scent of a person if they need to be found or are in trouble. Dogs have more qualities to them that can help out in more ways than cats can.
GM: You don’t do a lot of talk on the field, you let your play do the talking. However, there are a lot of opposing players that still remember you as a backup from the last couple of years. As you have improved, you are now starting. What’s your message to the guys that still remember you as a backup?
CK: Yes, first, I say thank you to those who’ve helped me before they left to go to another team, for teaching me how to play better, and believing in me when you were on this team. I also say that I’m disappointed for them saying ‘we’re your family’, and now, you play on another team and start talking differently about me. That’s not sportsmanlike, but I don’t care if they do talk or not. They can trash talk me all they want, I know how they play, and I know how I play. It’s going to get interesting, because no one is perfect, and I won’t let anyone get into my head. So my message to them would be, don’t sleep, because I won’t be. If I get that chance, I’ll own my position in every situation I can. I won’t hold back, and neither should you. You turned your back on my family, so I feel no mercy, but I’ll do this with respect. If I fall, I hope they help me up, I’d do the same for them when that play is over. I kinda like it when they doubt me, it fuels my fire. I’ve been doubted my whole life with alot of stuff, and it helps me get through. To me, it shows the other person is weak-minded, in the fact that too much confidence will make you become more succeptible to mistakes. You have to respect the opponents skill, or they can get the best of you when you least expect it, like me.
Another thing is, you have to have heart to succeed. It took me three seasons before a coach believed in me like Coach Davis has. I owe it to him and this team and this town to play my best, every snap, all game. I had past coaches give me chances, and I still appreciate them, but I have to say my first starting position of the whole season is very honorable, and the big thank you goes to Coach Davis. He believes in me, and I believe in him. I hope he stays with us for as long as I play semi-pro football. He has a very good mind when it comes to football. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep thriving on this team. I believe in this team as much as I believe in my coaches- that’s the important thing. If I’m hurt or not, I’ll give it my all; I’ll risk my body for this team and my coaches. There’s my message to anyone- if I can do it, you can too. I came into this league with no experience on how to play the game, just Madden, and we all know Madden is nothing close to that experience on the field.
GM: Thank you for your time, Cody.
Remember, you can catch a new Q&A session with a Hanover Rhinos player on Wordy Wednesdays, every Wednesday, exclusively on Rhino Charge, the official blog of the Hanover Rhinos.