Wide Right II!
One of the great college football coaches of all time is Bobby Bowden, who coached Florida State University for thirty-four years and at one time was the winningest coach ever, finishing as an AP top-5 team for 14 consecutive seasons, setting a record that doubled the closest program. Bobby is also a dedicated Christian man. But two of his biggest loses, both with national championship implications, came to arch-rival Miami and coach Jimmy Johnson, in consecutive seasons via missing a winning field goal in the final seconds, and a tying field goal in the final seconds, both that went “Wide Right.”
This statement of mine is no-doubt hyperbole, but I’d rather go to jail than be a field goal kicker (or at least Federal Prison). Talk about pressure and retribution! Missing a big field goal can bring death threats to the offending footster, and you can forget about being invited to the popular parties, much less being spoken to if you do get there. “Anathema” is the word that comes to mind. (Merriam-Webster, the Oxford dictionary and other sources define "fan" as a shortened version of the word fanatic. Fanatic itself, introduced into English around 1550, means "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion". Fanatical Football Fans, and I guess any fans, have a screw loose somewhere, and they forget that athletic contests are “games” elevating and adopting them to their own personal indicators of character, bravery, success, and moral uprightness. So naturally from that, when things don’t go according to the script they have imagined in their own minds, they become Ridiculously Rotten.
Wide Right II’s culprit was FSU #9, a bright, handsome young man named Dan Mowrey.
He was criticized, ostracized, and demonized by men who couldn’t win a “kick the can” game against infants, let alone stand alone in front of 79,560 fans at Doak Stadium with the National Championship hanging on their toenails. But Dan Mowrey had to face it, and either live with it or die with it.
Dan Mowrey lived with it! Dan is also a committed Christian, and he lived with it, saying “Missing that kick against Miami was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. It made me realize that nothing in life is given to you, you have to work for it.” And he speaks of appreciating relationships, (and if I may summarize his words with a cliché, “the finer things in life.”) Relegated to kick-offs his junior year, he earned and re-achieved the starting position his senior year, doing everything but sell hot dogs at half-time. He was FSU’s kick-off man, their punter, their extra point kicker, and their field goal kicker, and he had a great season. The man could kick! And he was labeled good enough to kick in the NFL, but despite several try-outs, the call didn’t come, and when one finally did, for Dan, that kick had already sailed. He had worked for a trucking company while staying “kicker-ready” but then headed off to law school, graduating from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2000 and admitted to the Bar in 2002. Can you say, “Mowrey Law Firm PLLC”? Dan Mowrey is now a very successful lawyer, husband, and father. Oh yes, he also takes time to coach kickers, a couple who have made it into the NFL!
In his famous writing on “The Man in the Arena,” President Theodore Roosevelt said this: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Dan Mowrey was and is The Man in the Arena. Yes, one of his kicks did go wide right, but the life of Dan Mowrey is right down the middle, serving Christ and serving his fellow man! Dan Mowery is a hero!
Let’s be like Dan.
Love to all,