The seat creaks as Dan Kistler Jr. settles in for class. The desk is a one-piece, a wooden chair connected to a wooden desktop, the kind Kistler hates. His body isn't made for them, he says. It's tough to cram a 6-foot-8, 325-pound body into something made for average-sized people.
His legs, clad in XXL-tall sweatpants, bend awkwardly and his knees press against the chair in front of him. His stomach rubs on the desk.
At the front of the class, the professor is recalling an anecdote of a former boyfriend who had size 14 shoes. He had trouble walking down stairs, she says. They used to laugh, she says.
Kistler laughs, too. It's more of a light snicker really. He shakes his head and puts his face in his huge hands.
His shoe size is 16.
Kistler is a student at The University of Montana and plays offensive tackle for the Montana Grizzlies football team. The concept of his position is built on being larger than life, the biggest on the field. He is part of the protective wall around the quarterback and the stronger the wall, the better the protection.
"Ever since I was in high school, the coaches have always said ‘You're the bodyguards on the field,'" said Kistler, now preparing for his sophomore season at Montana. "But we don't look at ourselves as 300-pound linemen. We look at ourselves as athletes."
But what happens when a machine, created and fine-tuned for football, leaves the field?