Jon Finds His Niche

Ever feel like you aren't good at anything that really counts? Jon knows the feeling all too well. In high school, his older brother James excelled at academics - maintaining a 4.0 average. Today James directs cardiothoracic imaging at Emory's medical school and teaches biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech. Jon felt pretty dumb in comparison with his 2.0 average. According to Jon, "people thought something was wrong with me." When they got into shouting matches, after Jon might call James a geek, James might come back telling Jon that he was just smart enough to one day be his chauffeur. Just what Jon needed to hear. Not being adept at making good grades, Jon's passion was sports. But here his self-esteem hit another wall. It wasn't bad enough that his older brother got the brains. His younger brother Jay got the athletic talent. In college, Jon was determined to be a great quarterback, lifting weights in the off-season, throwing endless passes, consistently running and lifting weights. While in his best condition ever, after running five miles, he'd taunt his less disciplined younger brother, now a Junior in high school, who spent his hot summer days watching TV and munching microwave popcorn. Finally, when Jay had had enough taunting, he challenged Jon to 2-mile race. In the last 2/10 of a mile, Jay took off, leaving a humiliated Jon behind. That's when he finally faced the facts: he was a loser at athletics. His dismal college career confirmed his fears. Except for three attempted passes and holding the ball for place-kicks, he was a perennial benchwarmer, watching the game from the sidelines. But John wasn't destined to be a star player. He just hadn't yet found his niche. Today he's in his niche, and life couldn't be grander. He makes his living watching from the sidelines. In fact, John will receive a cool $17.5 million dollars over the next 5 years to strategize and motivate from the sidelines. Last Sunday you saw him lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the 2003 Super Bowl. This former bench warmer is the youngest head coach to win the Super Bowl ever, the hero of Tampa Bay. But it makes you wonder?. What if John had become disillusioned because he was seldom allowed to play more "significant" positions in college? What if simply concluded, like many do, that he was destined to be a failure, when he was actually gaining valuable experience for the future? You see, God made you, and He doesn't make junk. God's got a purpose for you, and it's good. Don't ever believe the lie that life as you see it now is all there is. You can go either of two ways with your hurt and pain. You can decide you're indeed nothing, or you can trust God that He's got a master plan for your life, in spite of everything you see around you. (Written by Steve Miller, Copyright January 30, 2003. Sources: A Wise Investment Date: 01-23-2003; Publication: The Tampa Tribune; Author: IRA KAUFMAN) (Coach Chucky The Buccaneers' Jon Gruden has all the qualities of the perfect NFL coach: He's tireless, hypercritical and, occasionally, scary as hell Date: 09-09-2002; Publication: Sports Illustrated; Author: S.L. Price)

Print illustration | Close window