Sunday Thought 2
My 13 years with the NY Giants ended up much more than just doing bible study and chapel with players and coaches. It took me from the “pain and suffering” of being a once, “die-hard” Jets fan (my wife can attest to very bad behavior on my part in front of the TV screen), to be a part of two Super Bowl wins. There were other perks like watching games up close and personal, becoming friends with players, working with them as clients, and of course, my “failed” human nature, every once in a while, made certain that I let the world know just how “blessed” that I was.
But despite all of this, I’ve one regret that the #83 jersey has become a reminder for me not to make the same mistake twice.
After leading the team at Chapel at an away game in Philly, a young player, tattoo I’m told from head to toe, came up and asked to speak to me. Having just had “Superstars” in front of me, I had no idea who he was. Perhaps he was one of the players from the “practice squad”.
He introduced himself as Preston Parker, who was recently signed after 3 years with Tampa. We went off to the side and began a conversation that still echoes through my soul today. I won’t go into details, but I felt I could’ve had a white collar on and was hearing confession. When it finally ended, my dear friend David Tyree, who at this point is now “Head of Player Development” for the Giants, walked over and shared what he knew about Preston. I told him I was excited that God may be leading me to help Preston shed his past and walk with Christ now. David, who no man I ever met loves the Lord more, said something to the effect it would be an uphill battle.
I decided that one of the ways that I would show Preston some love was to have him do an appearance for me at my office. I booked a date and ordered the jersey you see me in, thinking that he would somehow feel special by having him appear and with my wearing his #.
It was not long after that I would take an action that still haunts me to this day.
Preston became a starter and on a nationally-televised game, he would drop 3 passes. The NY press would be all over it. Instead of being a true Christian, I decided that the appearance would now be a bomb and that I would look foolish, given what happened, and came up with some lame excuse as to why we couldn’t do it. Soon after, the Giants released him. Since then, he has had troubles with the law.
So, I now wear his jersey to anything Giants related (even with David Tyree). I sought God’s forgiveness for my “unchristian” act, and will never be ashamed that I had the blessing to once know Preston. May peace be with him – and me!