Listen to: Colton Dixon "Through It All"
Raised in a house of brothers, I knew two seasons: baseball and football. The later predominated. One would think that over years of tutelage, forced to watch the travails of the Cleveland Browns, the Ohio State Buckeyes and various local high school teams, I would at least know an end zone from a goal post; a quarterback from an offensive guard, The NFL from the AL from the ABA. Wrong. Sorry bros, the best I can do is if you line up a football, basketball, baseball, and hockey puck, is tell you to what game they belong.
We have all hear outrageous stories of how some athletes are making more money than a handful of savvy MBAs and MDs and Fortune 500s combined. The game has become as much entertainment as sport to keep the audience’s attention. Every now and then, however, I hear a story about a player that makes me want to learn about the game again.
The athlete’s name is Warrick Dunn. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He’s quite a renowned football player, but since I don’t watch football, I haven’t heard of him until I read his book Running for My Life. Dunn was a pro-Foot ballplayer for 12 seasons, playing for Florida State University, the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFL Atlanta Falcons. He set records. He made tons of money. However, but people didn’t know was a month before he signed with Florida State, his mother, Betty Smothers, a single mom who was a police officer, was shot and killed in a boggled robbery. She was working a second job to put groceries on the table. The groceries were food in the back of the car when they recovered her lifeless body.
Dunn found himself the father figure to five younger siblings. He was 18 years old. His mother had wanted him to go on to college. So did his grandmother, and high school coach. So Dunn forged ahead. He never forgot how much his mother struggled to for his brothers and sisters. When Dunn became rich and famous, he suddenly realized he could use the opportunities to change the lives of other people (p. 147/272) .
By doing this, he could honor his mother, who lived paycheck to paycheck, and never could afford a down payment on a house for her family. He founded a charity, Homes for the Holidays, that worked alongside with Habitat with Humanity to provided homes for people who otherwise never could have one. Dunn researched even what colors and toys the children loved, so that the house would truly be home to them. Dunn also formed Warrick Dunn Charities, and works closely with charitable ventures with other athletes. To date, Dunn has given away 139 homes to single moms.
Now that is one statistic I will not forget.
Dunn writes in his book how he eventually learned through counseling to grieve his mother’s death. He faced one of the murderers. Most of all though, despite the horrors of his mother’s early death he held close what he learned from her life:
· Never to lose sight of the blessings from above
· Our responsibility as human beings
· We have to look after each other
· We have to serve each other
“she set that example every day …being a helping hand…in the neighborhood showing quiet thankfulness” (p. 146-147/272)
We are all players in the most important game. The game of life. There is only one Goal. To serve. It’s very easy, really. Human beings tend to make it more complicated than it has to be. Just get up every morning and help each other. Care. Share. That’s the game. No complicated rules. No fancy equipment. Uniforms. Slogans. None of that. Just get in life. When someone needs you, be there for them, and help them. Touch down! Home run! Score!
Well down, good and faithful servant.
Note: Pray this every morning:
Prayer: “God: Put someone on my path today that I can help. Thank you! amen.”