“BLOCK THE PUNT”

There was 2:13 left on the clock. We were down 13-6, it was 4th down and we were about to get the ball. Plenty of time left to force overtime, and a win gets us to the playoffs for the first time in school history. Coach calls me over and says “block the punt”. Everything went dead silent as I lined up off the edge. No blocker in sight. I got a great jump and the block was certain. In the slowest of motion I saw the punter coming in my direction to kick the ball. As I was airborne, I realized the snap went way sideways, and the kick sailed just left of my stomach (I swear I touched it). I immediately slammed the punter so hard he was sent back 10 years. Flag. Automatic first down. Those final 2 minutes lasted a decade. 3 kneels and Game. Over. In front of my home fans and family, I waited out the final kneel at the corner position, sobbing. I had let the whole community down. Oh, and I broke my hand on that play, costing me the final 3 games of my senior year. Football was my life – my escape. And it was gone. In the most humiliating and painful way. (I still have the tape). The break was so bad it cost me my 12th and final year of baseball. The 2 things I was sure of was gone.
It’s in those moments that Jesus says “just wait and see”. I couldn’t swing a bat, but I could still run. I joined the track team for the first time ever and on May 26, 2001, I crossed the finish line holding the baton for the final leg of the 4×100 relay. We were state champions! Gold Medal.

We didn’t have a chance to win state in baseball or football, so He put me in a place where I could turn my shame into the ultimate victory. I look back at that moment constantly to remind myself that He knows best.

How many moments have you believed to be failures, but instead changed your trajectory and led to greatness? What are you facing now where failure appears the only option? Where might it lead you? We don’t know what is next. Which is why we must press in to Jesus. Let Him lead you forward. One. “Failure”. At. A. Time.

Location: Carl Sparks Stadium

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