“Take a Knee”

Some of the happiest memories of my youth come in some way or another from football.  It didn’t matter if I was watching it on television, playing it at recess, or throwing the ball around with my brother Clint, I loved the game. You can imagine then how excited I was when I finally was old enough to play competitively.

I ate it up, all of it. The “two a days” when you worked so hard you are sure you had nothing left to give, game day, the thrilling victories and the agonizing defeats. To this day, crisp autumn Saturday mornings that have just a tinge of winters bite in them bring a smile to my face and remind me of the sport I love so much.

As I remember those practices I recall that regardless of the team I played for, whenever a time came that the coach wanted to talk to the team, he would ask everyone to gather around him and, “Take a knee.”

“Taking a knee” meant many different things. Sometimes, it meant a little encouragement, sometimes more information. The coach might have some advice or instruction to share with the team, or maybe he wanted to make it clear that we weren’t doing things as well as we should be and changes needed to be made.  No matter what the coach had to say, “taking a knee” meant that it was time to take a break from  whatever we were doing and listen carefully.  For, when we did the work was easier and the games more fun.

On July 13, 1986  at about one in the afternoon, I broke my neck. Less than four hours later I was lying in an emergency room in Grand Junction, Colorado and had a doctor tell me something that I will never forget. He came next to my bed, looked me in the eye and said, “Jason, you’ve broken your neck and you will never walk again.”

Some may say that my worst fears were realized, but this little nugget of information was so far out in left field that I had never even considered it let alone feared it. There I was,15 years old trying to digest what he’d said. My game began to look pretty bleak.

Needing coaching then more than I ever had before, I followed my football training and “took a knee.” I went to my God, the best coach I have ever had, hoping for some encouragement or instruction. True to form, on my spiritual knees, I received everything I needed to make it through that harrowing day.

No matter the day, good or bad, easy or hard, things always go better when I “take a knee.” I believe the same is true for everyone. No matter what God you believe in, or how you choose to worship, our lives will be better when we take a break from whatever were doing and listen carefully.

So, when the winds blow and the waters rise, when the darkness comes and you yearn for the light, when the adversities of life conspire to chase hope from your heart, take a moment and “take a knee.” It won’t rid your life of difficulty, but it will make the work easier and the game of life more fun. I know that it has mine.



10 Responses to “Take a Knee”

  1. Michelle says:

    There is no better advice. No drug, no relationship, no “thing” can provide more hope, more happiness and more peace than you get when you “take a knee”.

  2. Bree Ross says:

    Thank you for your wisdom, and ability to share your experiences with those who are dealing with bumps in the road.

  3. LisaW says:

    Thank you for a beautiful story, and a poignant reminder of the importance of faith. I am struck that you tagged the post with “humility” as well – such an essential element of faith.

  4. Debbie Raymond says:

    You are as inspiring as your wife Colette. I look forward to reading your blog and learning from your life experience. Thank you for sharing. –Debbie Raymond

  5. yea Jason, You are truly amazing and it was my pleasure and such a job to meet you and hear your talk at CE. The one lady at my table could not stop crying, so I know you touched everyone’s heart and so much hers.

    I am also so happy you and Kolette are having a boy! Oh what a joy, it’s a boy!
    see that rythems and I know you all use the word joy!
    My husband and I have three children, one daughter Meliesa
    and two boys. One is 16 year old Andrew whom is mentally ill and a group home.
    I am one tough advocate and he is in a good place.

    Ok, well I will come and visit your blog again as I have been following kolette’s since CE.
    take care

  6. betsy says:

    Such words of wisdom Jason!

  7. Michelle Bryant says:

    Jason – you are my inspiration.

  8. Stacey Vass says:

    Thank you, Jason. I look forward to the point every day that I can “take a knee.” I love the analogy!

  9. Sanford Zell says:

    created great article. can stuff like this noticed speech to make next week, and I am on the look out for.

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