Some of you ended up here because I sent you an email. Others already knew. Either way thanks for stopping by.
Quite honestly I don’t know where to start. God has taken me on an incredible journey since I have known all you guys. From college to present-day I have repeatedly had the shit beat out of me by the Lord. He has humbled me in so many ways and has brought me here to where I am now. I sit and write this entry humbled again by the experience I have gone through over the last six months. Forgive me for the length of this entry but let me finally jump in.
Four years ago I felt called by Jesus to serve Him through the vehicle of Young Life. We all serve it’s just a matter of what vehicle we use to present the Gospel. Sometimes it’s our profession. It could be Young Life, church, sales, finances, whatever. I grew up in Young Life and I was excited about the opportunity. Before I came on staff I had to look my boss in the eyes and tell him I genuinely felt called by God to be on Young Life staff. I did just that. My mindset was always “I’m going to do Young Life until God tells me to do something else.” I’ve gone about the last three and a half years not ever really thinking about much else. One day last winter my good friend Dave Canales was hired at USC to coach football. As you all know full well I have a borderline unhealthy obsession about the game. Dave’s hiring really got my wheels turning.
I’ve coached football all four years I’ve been on YL staff. It was a great way to be around the game but it was an incredible way to meet kids. Over these past four years I have come to know and coach every single kid in the program at the high school where I do YL. It has been incredibly fruitful from a ministry standpoint. From a football standpoint is sucks because I’m not a good high school coach. I’m not patient enough to coach and teach football to kids who would rather be playing it on xbox. Fast forward to this past spring. One random day Steph and I were driving to lunch. We were engaged at the time and in the middle of planning the wedding. You might laugh but I did play a role in most things in that process. Anyways we were driving and listening to sports talk radio. Pete Carroll was on the radio and the thought of coaching popped into my head like it had a handful of times since Dave was hired. As coach Carroll spoke my mind wandered to a day where I was a college football coach. It scared me honestly. It scared me in many ways, but those didn’t matter because I wouldn’t even go there. Either way I thought I should ask Steph if she could ever be a coaches wife. Thinking she would say NO, I would be able to put it to bed and never have to worry about it EVER again. Without even thinking twice I asked her “so could you ever be a coaches wife?” I was already thinking about what we were going to talk about next…what are you going to order for lunch? what do you think about the churches we looked at? and most importantly where do you want to go on our honeymoon?
SON OF A BITCH SHE SAID YES. For reals? Really? She said “Yea, why?” I was completely speechless. I had already changed the subject in my mind. I thought she would say no. Hell, I wanted her to say no because I didn’t want to think about it ever again. I didn’t want to think about leaving YL or anything else. Damn, now we had to talk about it. Like really talk about it. We sat there over lunch and just began to explore what that meant and where to go from there. Over the next few months we would visit it fairly regularly and continue to process together. In April I was fortunate enough to have multiple opportunities to go visit Dave at SC and sit in on QB, team and coaches meetings during spring ball. I even got to help him break down film after practice. I was in heaven. This was big time ball and I got to experience it first hand. This only fed the beast. Throughout this process Dave and I would talk about my thoughts and I would pick his brain.
After Steph and I were married it was time to slow down for a bit. We went on our honeymoon then proceeded to travel for a nice part of the summer. Summer is a bit slower programmatically for YL so we were able to run around a little bit. These were great opportunities to talk and process together what was on our minds and hearts with this whole coaching debacle. You can only talk so much until you have to move. Steph and I went to dinner one night with Dave and Lizzy Canales. We all knew why and it was a great opportunity to sit and talk together and hear their experiences in their journey. At the end of the dinner I told Dave all this stuff is fantastic but it comes down to two things for me. And it went exactly like this:
You know me. You know my gifts, my strengths, weaknesses, my personality. No bullshit. Be brutally honest. Can I be a D1 football coach? Can I be successful?
With your eyes closed
Hmm. Wow. Ok………Well…Do I have to leave YL to pursue this? Because I’m not willing to do that right now. We’re still trying to figure out if this is something we are going to pursue.
Nope. You don’t have to leave.
Shit. I wanted Steph to say no. She screwed that one up. Then a big part of me wanted Dave to say no and he screwed up. Now it was decision time. Steph and I took a few days to think and pray over our conversation. We decided we would take the fall semester and seek the Lord and see if this was truly where He wanted us to go. If so, He would open a door and we would jump right in. If not we would continue to faithfully serve Him in YL.
These last few months have been the longest of my life. Plain and simple. My marriage is the best thing that has ever happened to me and if I did not have Stephanie I know damn well I would not have made it through this. I have NEVER pleaded with the Lord like I have in this. I’ve lost sleep, I’ve lost weight and I even had an intestinal infection caused by stress. Stephanie has been my biggest fan, biggest encouragement and the best sounding board I can ask for. Every morning I would wake up and open my bible seeking wisdom and discernment. My pleas with the Lord consumed my prayer life. I was so torn and so desperate for an answer. I love YL with all my heart. It has given me so much and taught me so much. Jesus drew me to himself through YL. It has changed my life. I am forever indebted to the ministry of YL. Either way this was going to be the hardest decision of my life thus far.
Fast forward to Jan 5 when I got a call from an old buddy from APU. We played together and now he is the OC at Pasadena City College. We had been playing phone tag and I was trying to catch up with him and ask him about his journey to PCC. As we talked he started asking me questions about coaching. Then he offered me an opportunity to come interview for the WR job. Wow. Curve ball. I agreed. I took my resumé and met him and the head coach in their offices two days later. The head coach looked over my resumé, asked me some questions about my playing experience and why I wanted to coach. I explained to him my obvious love of the game and my desire to mold young men, teach and challenge them and share with them the love of Jesus. That may sound cheesy but I genuinely take that approach to coaching and I always will. I also told him my goal of one day becoming a D1 head coach. After that he put me up on the board. He had me draw up how I would attack certain defenses in the run game and pass game. It was freaking awesome. Nerve wracking as hell, but awesome. He asked me a few more questions in how I would handle situations with players. He told me they would love to have me on staff if I wanted to join them. He offered his help with connecting me to any and every D1 school they have a relationship with to help me take the next step in my career as the future unfolds.
With all the prayer, stress, fear, doubt, and pleading the Lord opened the door. Steph and I talked and we decided to take the job in effect ending my time on staff with YL. I am going to go after this with everything I have. This is my passion and the Lord is giving me the opportunity to chase this with the most amazing woman by my side. Two days ago (Thursday) I met with the other two staff people in our area and told them the news. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I love both of those people with all of my heart. They are both amazing and my biggest cheerleaders in this as I move forward.
This was not an easy process. It was exhausting and it took a toll on my mind and my body. In both YL and coaching you can’t half ass anything. It’s all or nothing. I know towards the end of the semester my work in YL wasn’t my best. I was so torn and consumed by what the Lord was going to do I wasn’t totally present, but I stand here now scared shitless by what the future holds. I now have to find a day job to help pay the bills as we begin this coaching journey. Of course the Lord gives us this during this awesome economic time our country now has going for it.
Gentleman, again, I know this is long but I want you to know I share these details with you because you have helped me get to this point. Like I said in the beginning the Lord has beat the shit out of me and has left me humbled by you, by my experiences, by this process. I’ve come to dwell on the relationships in my life these past few months and how they have shaped me. You have all shaped me. I genuinely believe with all my heart that every single one of you have helped me get to this point today. Whether or not you care about anything I’ve said until now I want you to know I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful for your friendship. I’m thankful for your support in college and beyond. I’m thankful for the opportunity to live with most of you (even if I did have a big ass bed AND you puked while sleeping in it THEN moved the bed to cover it, or even if you threw the mattress down the stairs and then a bar stool at me while I had a broken wrist, and even if you slapped the shit out of me while playing drunk Tiger Woods). Thank you for putting up with my arrogant selfish ass in college. Thank you for supporting me in YL whether that was financially or through prayer. Thank you for choosing to do life with me (Kimble – you know damn well you stole that line from me). As you can see the Lord has turned me into a soft, sentimental dude these days but I don’t give shit. It’s who I am. I’m a soft, sentimental FOOTBALL COACH!
Please know wherever this journey takes Steph and I, you all obviously have an open-ended invitation to visit. Maybe someone will actually come visit us now. Either way you are all invited to any game, anytime, anywhere.
I love you all. May the Lord bless you and free you to pursue your greatest passions as He has done for me.