Sometimes it seems that as you focus on your goal, all the forces in the universe push you forward to accelerate your movement.
A former student, Pastor Tina Wilson, called me on Saturday night, at 9:30 p.m. CDT, with excitement in her voice.
"Professor," she said breathlessly, "I am at the home of a friend and a man who played pro football with the Oakland Raiders is here!"
I asked, "What's his name?"
She said, "I am so excited, I forgot to ask...hold on."
She came back to the phone: "His name is Jermaine Williams."
"Pastor Tina," I said, "I have had another remarkable day."
I told my former student about the good time I had at a luncheon. The keynote speaker was an athlete who shared wisdom with a crowd of about 200 people.
I then asked, "Can he come to the phone for a short interview? I write articles for the Bleacher Report and this would be such a wonderful opportunity for me to do research."
A few minutes passed. A man's voice said, "Hello."
I introduced myself and the interview began. I asked, "Jermaine when did you play football with the Oakland Raiders?"
He answered, "Off and on from 1998 to 2001." I asked, "What do you mean?"
He added, "I played from 1998 to 1999. I was traded. Then later I returned in 2001."
He played 25 games during those first two seasons. The data shows one game in 2001.
I asked, "How is your life after football?"
He answered, "Fine. I am a businessman and a realtor."
Eager to get in touch with other former NFL players in the area, I asked, "Where do the older guys hang out. What do they do?"
He added, "Not much. Many of them hang out at a center on Hwy 288."
I researched the program. It is called the Turning Point.
What do they do? He answered, "Play dominoes and sit around all day. Some ride their bicycles."
Jermaine Williams had very good insight on why the adjustment to an ordinary lifestyle is so difficult for some of the former NFL players.
To summarize his comments, I learned that many of the men have a meager pension, no preparation for a career after football, and a life without attention and glory.
He added that after you have been encouraged to play football from a young age, nurtured in that direction and pampered, once that is over (and it can end so abruptly), it is difficult to adjust.
If someone is out there for you to help you get a job and adjust, it would be so much better. However, once your career is ended, many of the so-called friends and supporters fade away.
A lady in the background said she needed to use the phone. Williams had to go.
Those few minutes were priceless. They gave me inspiration to write several more detailed stories.
By the way, my son and I looked up a senior NFL player and took him to the movies to see The Game Plan. Out of those experiences came the inspiration for the game plan envisioned and sprouting with a little help from the forces in the universe.
Stay tuned and expect an adventure in writing by the B/R writer who seems to get help from the forces in the universe!
After the interview with Jermaine Williams, I assure you, B/R community, I am on "Cloud Nine."