Meet Mark Asper: Duck football player - and father of two
EUGENE, Ore. - From play calls to Play-Doh, bubble screens to simply blowing bubbles, Mark Asper is a busy man on and off the field.
The Duck tackle has the most career games played on the offense, and at 25 going on 26 this November is the most veteran presence on the Oregon team.
He's also a father of two.
"I get in trouble all during fall camp because I come home and I want to play with the kids and they're in their jammies and ready to go to bed," he said.
Mark and his wife michelle have been married for nearly four years. First came Makayla Rayleen, now 2. Just 8 months ago, the Aspers welcomed Maci Lova to the family.
"I just want them to be as girly and frilly and dainty as can be," the proud father said.
All this joy came into the Idaho Falls native's life after a two-year mission trip to Spain.
"If she had met me or known me before I went on my mission," he said of his wife, "we probably wouldn't have ended up together because I was kind of pretty arrogant and kind of a snot."
Up until this season, the Aspers felt like they spent every waking hour away from campus fixing toilets and replacing light bulbs. Byt after three years of being an on-site assistant manager at a 207-unit apartment complex in Eugene, Mark and Michelle had enough.
"They'd call like Sunday morning, 'Hey, sorry my oven exploded on Friday night but I knew mark was gone," he said.
Now without a job, the minimal living stipend Asper gets from his scholarship each month is harder to stretch between four plates on the dinner table.
"We pinch the pennies," he said.
But between his summer savings from his job as a compliance officer for Lane County Parks and Rec, his giving siblings and parents, and some help from local and government programs, the Aspers are making it work.
"There's a lot of programs that help people out that are low to no income like us," he said.
And depending on how this football thing pans out, Mark could fall back on his master's degree in educational methodology that is he currently trying to obtain.
Asper used to be roommates with Brandon Bair, who is now with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mark calls himself a trendsetter because now Brandon, who also juggled being a father and a football player, is having his second child with his wife.