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Orvis Cherishes Commitment, Decision To Be A Buffalo

Dec 1, 2014

Herb Orvis had a lot to celebrate during his career as a Colorado Buffalo, yet nothing may match the excitement and jubilation he felt on October 30, 2014, when he was inducted into the CU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Orvis had roughly 20 family members on hand, including his fiancé, both his sons and their wives, five grandchildren, and his younger brother who played with Orvis at CU.

"So, we had a few tables filled up there," Orvis said. "CU has some real class, and they really showed it that night. I was very impressed with how courteous and helpful they were at every turn. We just had a ball; we felt like we belonged there."

Indeed, seeing his family within the crowd that gathered in the Boedecker Gymnasium at the CU practice complex brought back to life all the memories and stories he could only tell them about previously. Now others, including the university he has adored and glorified since the late 1960's could tell those stories for him.
But not all of them.

Orvis did more than plenty on the field, he was a dominating force along the Buffs' defensive line playing at nose tackle. His play garnered numerous accolades including All-American honors following his senior year, as well as back-to-back first-team All-Big Eight conference awards in his junior and senior seasons. And in 1969, Orvis was named the conference's Newcomer of the Year.

Yet, those stories come after the story that made him into the man (and captain) his teammates would go to battle for any given Saturday. Orvis elected to fight another battle first, before he would do so on the football field.

Orvis has an incredibly positive outlook on life, appreciating every moment and what is has to offer. He first learned this lesson when he was serving as an Army corporal in Berlin. It was New Year's Eve during the mist of a freezing German winter and Orvis was on guard duty.

He was settling into his post for the long, frigid night ahead of him when all of a sudden the entire town of Berlin, "lit up" as he described. For over two hours, Orvis was treated to the most magnificent fireworks show he had ever seen.

"In Germany, New Year's Eve is like Fourth of July is over here (in America)," Orvis explained. "Those things went on for hours, and I just remember thinking to myself how lucky I was to get a show like that."
It didn't matter that he was thousands of miles away from his native Michigan home, and family during the holidays, to Orvis he was just grateful for this fireworks display.

Orvis learned a valuable lesson that night, and throughout his military experience: commitment.

This is exactly the reason Orvis landed at CU. He and his Army buddies had heard of Boulder and the beauty it had to offer, and therefore thought it could be a destination they could all head for together as brothers. However, for one reason or another many of his friends decided to change their minds, but not Herb.
 
"When Herb Orvis makes a commitment," said Orvis. "He sticks to it."

That's exactly what he did, and in the summer of summer of 1968 Orvis found himself beneath the flatirons.

"Initially, I was disappointed because I was really there because of my Army teammates and I thought I may have made a mistake," Orvis conceded. "But after spending four years at CU I realized that it was the best choice of my life. It was something I didn't plan, but it just happened, and I knew it was for a reason."

Whenever Orvis faced dilemmas later on in his life he always looked back to his time at CU as a guide to solve his problems. He explained it as the step that taught him how important it was to just do your best, and Orvis and his teammates certainly did just that in each and every game they played together as Buffaloes.

The most telling story Herb could think of when it came to he and his teammates' commitment level was a tradition they developed in his senior season which he explained as 'Jingle Jangles' where each player would run short sprints that would increase at each turn. First, the player would run five yards, come back 10 yards, run back another 15 yards, and come back 10 and five again.

"Jingle Jangles," Orvis said. "It's a real taxing sprint routine, and it really takes your breath away. We would do that at the end of games, win, lose, or draw. That kind of pride, really permeates a team when they see guys doing their best to be part of that team."

Orvis may have been one of the more relaxed players off the field, but when he was in between the hash marks that was most certainly not the case and his teammates picked up on that as well.

"When you talk about military, I don't know if it helped me with my tangible football skills, but it sure gave me the right attitude with how to approach things." Orvis explained. "My teammates could tell that when it came to game time, there was no messing around. I felt wherever I could help my teammates improve themselves and have pride in what we all did, and to express that same pride back."

Pride is about all Orvis can really express when it comes to his memories at CU, and that could not be more true right now as he sits at home with the realization that he is in the CU Athletics Half of Fame.

"It's at the top," Orvis said. "It was really heartwarming, I couldn't believe that I would be included in this group of honerees."