Badgers, Betsy Byrne, devotional, Faith, First and Goal, football, Football Devotional, Holly Michael, Jake Byrne, Lafayette, never give up, Nick Byrne, ragin Cajuns, San Diego Chargers, touchdown, touchdown dance, type 1 diabetes, University of Louisiana, University of Wisconsin, What Football Taught Me About Never Giving UP
Football Season is here!
One year ago today, after playing for four years as a tight-end for the Wisconsin Badgers, Jake scored his first touchdown in the NFL.
So proud of my son, a type 1 diabetic, who has overcome incredible odds and has grown up to be an amazing man, now married to the lovely Emma.
Today, Jake has a book published by Harvest House Publishers: First and Goal – What Football Has Taught Me About Never Giving Up.
Ever want to know what goes on in the mind of a player when they score that first NFL touchdown…especially when they prepped for the touchdown dance? Here’s an excerpt from Jake’s devotional: First and Goal….
Touchdown Dance A player’s celebration of his touchdown catch in the end zone. Spiking the ball and some dance moves are allowed, but not other stuff the NFL deems as excessive celebration.
“Got your end zone show planned for your first touchdown?”
Seated on the couch in my San Diego apartment, I caught the football my brother Nick tossed to me. He’d come for a visit prior to our football camps—his as a Ragin Cajun tight end in college and mine as an NFL Chargers tight end.
“You gotta have swag and set your own style, you know. Like Terrell Owens when he carried a sharpie in his sock, signed the ball, and threw it to the fans.”
“That’s illegal now.” Football in hand, I leaped off the couch. “How about this?” I busted out in a smooth dance move and then spiked the ball.
“Too complicated.” Nick laughed. “Too bad you’re not playing for the Packers. It’d be easy to do the Lambeau Leap into the stands. Just don’t be a copycat and do the dirty bird or pretend to make a cell phone call. Those are done.”
Coached by Nick, I perfected a simple but signature dance move.
A couple of months later, during the second preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, at the end of the fourth quarter, Coach called a time-out and the play that would send me into the end zone to catch a touchdown pass. The play down, the end zone dance in my head, I geared up for my big moment.
Everything went as planned. I released as if to block and the defense took the fake hook, line, and sinker. I was unaccounted for. In this preseason game, the Seahawks had me marked only as a blocker. I ran my route as Kellen Clemens lobbed the ball toward me.
Stunned and in awe, I froze. Zach Boren, a teammate who was also with me on the Texans, jumped all over me. Everyone was hopping up and down, attacking me. I thanked God and looked at the ball. Still in my hands.
Signature dance move! Gotta do it.
It was too late. I couldn’t remember the moves Nick taught me. I tried a sorry attempt of a power spike and ran off the field. Still flying high and flustered, I forgot to run out for the next play. If not for the two-minute warning, I would have received a penalty.
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:1-4).
I had the sequence planned out for my touchdown, but stunned and caught up in the moment like Peter, I forget my end zone dance. Only the glory of the moment mattered.
Standing before the Son of God, Elijah (a great prophet), and Moses (the law-giver), Peter wanted to build a tent and stay, not realizing the moment would be fleeting. I understand that. Entranced in my moment of glory and overpowered by the immensity of the experience, I didn’t want to leave the field.
Peter’s amazing experience was so much greater than my touchdown moment, but definitely both were moments in which God blessed us. During times in your life where God’s grace is evident, revel in the moment and thank Him, but don’t forget that when the moment ends you have to get back to reality to avoid a penalty.
My youngest son, Nick, just starts his football season with the Ragin Cajuns at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. Proud of both of my sons and my lovely daughter, Betsy, who is studying and teaching at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. All amazing kids who have grown up to be superb adults. #Proudmomof3
Jake’s book is available through most booksellers. Online at Amazon http://amzn.to/1FAYKo8