Get Ben In!
“What do you mean you don’t care if you get to play in a game?” Mike, one of my fraternity brothers, asked me.
I shrugged my shoulders. “That would be cool, but I’m really happy just practicing during the week and running out of the tunnel on Saturdays.” After all, simply being a part of the heralded USC football program was a big deal, especially for someone like me, who had spent years documenting the great accomplishments of other athletes.
But just a few hours after that conversation, Mike was busy creating his “Get Ben In” campaign. He was determined to help me, a lowly walk-on, actually get to play in a real game. Mike proceeded to spread his “Get Ben In” flyers all over campus, created a GetBenIn.com website, and ordered “Get Ben In” t-shirts for fans to wear at the home football games.
As time went on, the story of my walk-on journey took on a much deeper significance than just me making the team. It became a message of hope for anyone who was facing a seemingly impossible situation. There were countless messages sent via the website from people who had read my story and wanted to encourage me.
Two of those messages in particular meant a great deal to me. One was from a seventeen-year-old who had tried out for her high school volleyball team three years straight but had never made the roster. As a senior, she had decided to skip the tryouts because she could not face the possibility of failing again. But after reading my story, she was inspired to give it one more try—and she made the team.
The other was from Pfc. Ronald Curtis and a battalion of football-loving soldiers stationed in Iraq. “Your story is just one more reason why we’re doing what we’re doing over here. Thank you for reminding us what hope can really do for people. We’ve never been so proud to be Americans as we continue to bring hope to the Iraqis.”
Having this much attention was terribly uncomfortable for me since I had spent most of my life trying to stay backstage and avoid the spotlight. But I was also immensely grateful to have a friend like Mike who believed in me so much—and took practical steps to encourage me in my journey.
Who in your life can you encourage today?