Saturday, February 12, 2011


"Centuries ago," I went out for the U.S. Navy Goshawks football team. One of the stars of a previous Cotton Bowl, Terry Haddock, had seen me play touch and flag football, and he said that I was definitely good enough to play college level ball. His encouragement moved me to begin training two months before the tryouts, because I wanted to be ready. I spent hours lifting weights, doing calisthenics, and running. When the time came, I can honestly say that I thought I was ready. One day while working out, the team quarterback, Roger Staubach, and the center were working on snap drills. The center, John Cato, would snap the ball and then go out for a pass from Roger. Of course, after a couple of runs, he, being a center, was out of breath. I asked John and Roger if it would be alright if I took turns with John so that he could get a breather in between runs. John hugged me.

Although bruised from elbow to shoulder, and from hip to neck by the "bullets" Roger threw, I really did well, rarely missing a catch. Unfortunately, a pair of new cleats literally removed the flesh from both heels, and I was in agony. After taping on a pair of show shoes, I attempted to continue going out for passes. My erratic "running" was throwing off Roger's timing, so I asked if he would prefer I stopped. I will never forget his reply. He said, "What do you want to do?" He cared more about me than how bad my "handicap" made him look. I continued to give John a needed break.

When the tryouts began, I was a lock for the team. I was physically ready. I had impressed Roger and the coach. And, I do not feel like it is bragging to say I was a good player. However, by the time our first week of practices was over, I had walked off the field and quit. I lacked the mental toughness to persevere. I will always regret not having stuck it out, because I will never know how good of a player I was. On the other hand, that lesson has kept me in life's "game" many, many times when I wanted to give up. It was worth it.

Of all the names that have crossed my path in my life of sixty-eight years, Roger Staubach's is by far the most famous. When Dallas won the Super Bowl, and Roger gave the glory to the Lord, I realized why he was such a humble man; Roger was a Christian. They won it a year after I accepted Christ, and I wrote Roger to congratulate him, and to invite him to speak at our church. Unfortunately, he was swamped with requests, but he wrote me a couple of nice letters.

However, for the past forty years, the name that far surpasses Roger's in my life is Jesus. He has saved me. He has sustained me. He has provided assurance of a glorious future with Him and the Father. There is no name more special than that of the Son of God. It is His name that saves us (Jn. 20:31; Acts 4:12). We are to be baptized in His name (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48;19:5; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). And it is at His name, every knee shall bow (Phil. 2:10)! That is why I rarely speak about Roger, but my life is being spent proclaiming the glorious name of Jesus. His is the only name that really counts!

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