Randall Cunningham, a past recipient of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award and now a pastor and mentor in Las Vegas, is the author of the motivational memoir “Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best.”
Cunningham’s book asserts that life can be a lot like football. “What happens in those seconds before a play is a lot like what happens in life,” he writes. “We all approach the line of scrimmage every morning. We head out to work or school and we read the defense. What is life going to throw me today? we ask ourselves. Then we run our play.”
Life has thrown a lot at Cunningham, including career setbacks and the accidental death of his 2½-year-old son. But each time he has been down, feeling “the kind of pain that makes you feel like you’re about to crack in two,” he has stood up again determined in his mind and soul to go back to the huddle and run another play.
Excerpt from ‘Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best’
Some people ask me if I’m disappointed with how my football career unfolded during those difficult few years. After all, I had just set league records with the Vikings and barely missed the Super Bowl. What was it like to go from such a high place of success in Minnesota to holding a clipboard in Dallas, then playing, then getting injured?
It’s a fair question. By the world’s standards, perhaps, I was being treated unfairly — inadequately rewarded for my accomplishments. Fate was having a laugh at my expense as I watched from the Dallas sideline.
But to me, that kind of life vision is limited. It places too much stock in the tangible, measurable things in life and not enough on the things that really matter, like the heart and soul of a person. Accolades aren’t worthless by any stretch, but they are not the sum total of a person. There’s always something going on behind the scenes. In our media-saturated culture all the fans see is a player like me getting shipped out of town to another team and riding the bench or getting injured. But that’s only a fraction of life for that individual.