Are you ready for some football? As fans across the country get ready to cheer their favorite teams on, players have been preparing year-round for the 16 games their team will play. For safety, Darrell Stuckey he is gearing up for the Los Angeles Chargers. In addition to being the Special Teams Captain for four years, Stuckey also is active in the community. During the off-season he runs free youth football camps. He also has a website Living4One.com, which enables fans to connect directly with him and provides the opportunity for him to share his heart with them. Risen interviewed Stuckey in 2015 and talked with him about his dreams of playing in the NFL when he was younger and his mentality on the field.
Stuckey opens up on how his dreams of playing in the NFL when he was younger and how he prepared himself for success.
“…I wanted to be in the NFL, but I was so scared to fail. In my mind my motto was that failure was not an option. I wanted to be successful in life. Period. And I realized that success is not accolades, but rather finding a purpose and fulfilling it. So for me to be successful I wanted to be a great husband and a great father. I wanted to be the best man I could be. I told myself to prepare to live without the NFL, but on the field I still needed to play my heart out and do whatever was needed, and if I did that that then I believed football will take care of itself, if that was my purpose. I couldn’t draft myself. I always had goals, but I [needed to] leave room for God’s will to be done. I realize the times that I try to get arrogant and control things, are really the times that things don’t work out. So I started living in a way that I was proving my leadership off the field in many ways varying from being elected Student Senator in my junior and senior years at University of Kansas for the college of the liberal arts and sciences, to one of three students on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, to Treasurer of my fraternity. I just wanted to prepare myself to be successful regardless of sports…”
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26
Stuckey shares about his mentality on the field as a professional football player.
“I am always a firm believer that God intended us to play with the mentality of not losing. It’s the same way Apostle Paul talks about it in the Bible that nobody runs a race just for the heck of it; they always run in such a way to get the prize. That is the way I play. But it doesn’t take aggression; it takes love for the person next to you and the people opposing us trying to take what is ours. It’s a game and there is no reason you have to play the way you live your life. There have been plenty of times people say, ‘You are a hard hitter. You don’t seem like you would hit me. I don’t feel intimidated by you at all right now. But when you get on the field I question whether you are the same guy.’ They think this because I am a very happy-go-lucky person.”
Set yourself up for success. It is easy to get focused on being successful according to the world’s terms. Take time a step back. Instead of dreaming about becoming rich, having the best job, or traveling the world, spend time this week to pray and ask God what he wants you to be successful at. As you delight yourself in your relationship with God, he will bring you the desires of your heart. God is not like a genie in a bottle. Sometimes as we pray, he guides us in a different direction.
Adjust your attitude. Whether you are an athlete, student, or professional, each of us needs to have an attitude that reflects the love and grace of Christ. Take time this week to read and reflect on 1 Corinthians 9. If you have a friend that is a collegiate or professional athlete, ask them about their training regimen. Think about the strict training and how you can apply it to what God has called you to do.
Set goals for your success. It might be wanting to become a professional athlete or growing deeper in your relationship with God. Whatever your goal, you will need to make smaller goals to get there. Sometimes it helps having a mentor or coach who has achieved that goal to help you set your own personal goals. Ask a friend, small group leader or pastor to help you think through your goals. Write them down and then post them. By posting them in a place you see daily, it will remind you of what you are working towards.
To read our entire interview with Darrell Stuckey click here.