High-Profile Turnarounds – “Pat Summerall Here”
Key Bible Verse: But God is so rich in mercy … that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life. – Ephesians 2:4-5
Bonus Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
For 45 years Pat Summerall’s voice and face have spelled football. After his own career as a star kicker, Pat went into broadcasting, at first covering golf and tennis. Teamed for years with John Madden, he was a Sunday afternoon voice of Fox TV NFL football.
But Pat was an only child whose parents divorced before he was born, leaving him feeling empty and alone. He became an alcoholic, living from drink to drink as his body broke down. During the 1994 Masters tournament, he faced up: “I’d been getting sick a lot, throwing up blood—and I got sick again at 4 a.m. I looked in the mirror, saw what a terrible sight I was, and said to myself, ‘This isn’t how I want to live.'”
Pat spent 33 days in the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, California. This helped alleviate his alcohol problems but didn’t address his spiritual vacuum. Then he bumped into his old coach, Tom Landry, who explained about his spiritual need and connected him with Dallas Cowboys chaplain John Weber. Pat’s life was transformed, and he was baptized at age 69. “Summerall was once the life of every party with a drink in his hand,” Weber says. “Now he gets his power from another source.”
—Art Stricklin in Sports Spectrum
My Response: How has the Spirit’s power broken destructive patterns in my life?
Thought to Apply: Once I was enslaved … and now I am free! And the difference is God’s rescuing merc —Walter Brueggmann (professor)
Adapted from Sports Spectrum (11-12/01)
Prayer for the Week: Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. – Psalm 51:1