Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where Is Your Strength From?

Normally, I do not get into politics, religion or anything heavy on here, but I recently read a book that really stuck with me. This Book is titled Where Men Win Glory, The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, by Jon Krakauer. This book is mainly about the death of NFL football start Pat Tillman and the Government’s attempt to cover up the fact that he was killed by friendly fire. Although this is tragic, this is not the part of the story I find bothersome.

First, let me briefly tell you about Pat Tillman.

• Pat Tillman was born November 6, 1976 in California, the oldest of three brothers.
• He excelled in high school football, leading his team to the Central Coast Division 1 Football Championship.
• In high school, Tillman was fiercely loyal to his true friends; in fact he beat up a kid very bad because he thought he had jumped his buddy in a parking lot outside a pizza place. Tillman later found out that he had gone after the wrong guy and then went to the boy’s house and apologized and then turned himself in to LE, where he spent the summer after graduation in jail.
• Tillman received a scholarship to play football at the Arizona State University.
• Tillman graduated with a 3.84 GPA in 3 ½ years. He was a very bright individual, always said to be carrying a book, or writing in a journal, something he did all the way up to his death.
• Tillman helped the Sun Devils to an undefeated season in 1997 and a chance to play in the Rose Bowl. This same year he won the PAC-10 Defensive Player of the Year.
• In 1998, Tillman was the 226th selection of the Arizona Cardinals, and was quickly moved to the safety position, making the league minimum.
• In 2000, Tillman led the Cardinals in tackles, setting a new team record. Other teams quickly approached Tillman with more money to play for them, yet Tillman declined, stating “the Cardinals drafted me in the 7th round; they believed in me…I can’t bring myself to take the offer...” He made $361,500 for the Cardinals; the Rams were offering $9.6 million.
• Tillman always looked for new challenges. He completed both a marathon and a Half Ironman Triathlon in his off seasons.
• The 9/11 attacks on the WTC effected Tillman very strongly. In an interview about the attacks, Tillman stated “Times like this you stop and think about just how- not only how good we have it, but what kind of a system we live under. What freedoms we’re allowed. And that of – my grandfather was at Pearl Harbor. And a lot of my family has…gone and fought in wars. And I really haven’t done a damn thing as far as putting myself on the line like that. And what the flag stands for.” He continued, “It’s hard because…I play a damn – we play football, you know? It just seems to damn…It is so unimportant compared to everything that’s taken place. “This was also the last interview he gave.
• Shortly after the end of the 2001 NFL Season, Tillman turned down a $3.6 million contract to join the Army Rangers with his brother Kevin. He made a 3 year commitment to the Army.
• Tillman participated in the rescue of Jessica Lynch and served time in Iraq before going to Afghanistan. After is stint in Iraq, his agent found a clause that would let him out of his Army commitment since he served in a war area. Tillman stood strong and said he committed to three years, and he intended on keeping his word.
• Tillman was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire, which the US Government attempted to cover up.

So basically what we have is one heck of a guy. He was intelligent, athletic, hard working, dedicated, and loyal. He would not take the easy way out. He stood for what he thought was right. He wasn’t concerned about what people thought of his leaving the NFL. He challenged himself. He stayed true to his believes, and his friends. He was one of the true heavy hitters of the NFL, and is still one of my favorite players. This was a guy he would all want to be friends with, a guy with all the qualities we would want, but here is the thing that bothered me after reading this book.

There were numerous journals found of his writings after his death. In one journal, Tillman wrote about his time on Earth, that he wanted “to do good, influence lives, and show truth and right. He believed it was important to have “faith in oneself” and to aspire to “a general goodness free of religious pretensions…I’ve never feared death per se, or really given a s*it what happens ‘after’. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. My concerns have to do with the now and becoming the man I envision…I think I understand that religious faith which makes the holy brave and strong; my strength is just somewhere else-it’s in myself…I do not fear what may await me, though I’m equally confident that nothing awaits.”

Wow. “My strength is just somewhere else-it’s in myself.” Sadder words were never read by me before. Tillman did not believe in a God of any type. It is still amazing that as great a guy as Tillman most likely was that he is spending an eternity in pain and anguish. I am not the poster child for living the “living the Christian life”, but I know where my strength lies, and it is not in myself. Where does your strength lie??


  1. I have that book sitting on my nightstand - been wanting to start it and now I will.

  2. This is a very nice post, so informative and interesting. Thanks for sharing such a great post.


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