Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Honoring the Path

At this juncture in my life, the professional football league does not seem to be in the works. FOR NOW. I stop and think of all the opportunities that the game of football has afforded me; the relationships, the experiences, learning to overcome life's many obstacles, and becoming the man that I can respect and appreciate when I look myself in the mirror. My passion for punting and the game of football will continue to burn within me, but I also feel called to serve in other ventures and travel along other paths. As a recent graduate and in the face of a volatile US and world economy, my job search has been anything but easy. I am truly blessed to have a strong supporting cast around me, especially my loving girlfriend Alli who listens to me complain, but is the one who reminds me of the important things in life and to keep my faith in the face of both good and bad. An employment opportunity was introduced to me while playing in the NAIA Senior Bowl in April but in all honesty, I was so set on wanting to play pro ball, I failed to take the blinders off and see the opportunity that was in front of me. All this time I had been praying for a job opportunity, and it stared me right in the face; I just failed to see it. So, with time and discussions with some great people, I decided to look into the opportunity once more. Thankfully, the position has not been filled and I can happily say that I received a phone call today to have a phone interview with the company tomorrow afternoon. I am very excited for the opportunity and after conducting thorough research on the company, it seems like a very good fit for my passion, goals for the future, and what I hope to accomplish in serving while here on earth.

In all, I would just like to say that this experience has taught me that while one dream and passion may be put on hold, God is great and full of love, and will provide for those who continue to serve his Kingdom and conduct themselves as Kingdom Builders. This is a great business opportunity and I will make the best of it. Whether an offer is extended or not, I am still truly blessed to even be in this position. 

Live, Love, and Rejoice in the Lord. 

-In case you were wondering, I have not given up on football. I am still in the gym 6 days a week and kicking just as much. The NFL has not seen anything yet!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Putting It All Together

The kicking game is 10% technique and 90% mental. If your head game is not where it needs to be, it does not matter how physically prepared you are to compete. A punter/kicker whose mind is not 100% committed to the task of producing quality punts is as productive as a crew team without rows. With this said, this weekend marks one of my most productive and successful punting workouts... and it happened on the big stage. I worked out for the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL this weekend and charted as the top punter in a group of 6 kickers. I averaged 45.8 yard per punt on 6 punts and finished ahead of punters from ECU, Maryland, and Alabama. The results are a testament to the last 6 years that I have sacrificed to grow as a punter and athlete. After the charting was complete, I envisioned the 5:00 am running in the gym, the trouble I had driving home from the gym when I squatted until I could barely crawl, and realized that hard work truly pays off when you continue to work through hardships, criticism, and any other obstacle that stands in your way. I will make it to the NFL and I will make a career out of punting the football. My kicking coach recently told me it does not matter what your journey looks like in reaching your goals, as long as you get there. While the path to the NFL may not be a straight line, I will continue to exhaust every avenue and every opportunity that is afforded me until I make this dream a reality. 

I am relentless. See you at the top. -TP

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Waiting on "The Call"

I'm back in the 5-6-Ace after a great weekend in Kansas City for the NAIA Senior Bowl. I shared punting duties for the American team and had a great day of workouts and a great bowl game. I averaged 45 yards in the game with one punt kicked inside the 10. The weather in Kansas City is not for the weak hearted. The first day of practice was very interesting, considering the weather consisted of sustained winds at 40-45 mph. Punting into the wind was a treat in itself. It brought me back to my first days of learning how to punt. Overall, the experience was excellent. I had a chance to play one more college football game with 3 of my former Malone teammates and had a chance to join the nation's top NAIA players in a great game on the GridIron. 

This week marked the beginning of the Free Agency. I have continued to hit the gym and have light kicking sessions, just waiting for the call to report for camp. I have never been so prepared for anything in my entire life. When I strapped on the pads again during Senior Bowl weekend, I knew I was born to wear those pads. God gives each of us such beautiful talents and abilities and I have been fortunate enough to experience a very successful athletic career. I am looking forward to what is to come and no matter what the path, I will follow God's plan for my life to the T. 

Strap It Up. The Journey Continues. I am ready for the ride. Prov 16:9

Monday, April 20, 2009

Reflection of the Love of Christ

I was blessed enough to travel to Arizona and spend Easter with my amazing girlfriend Alli and her family. It was one of the best Easter celebrations to date and it was during this time with friends and loved ones that I fully grasped the love that Jesus has for each and everyone of us. As a human, I have fallen short in many ways in my life, yet the Lord still loves me as he created me to be. This trip allowed me to step away from my day-to-day routine (I am in idle at the moment) and I was able to fully appreciate His Love for me. I am currently reading Dawson McAllister's "A Walk With Christ To The Cross" and it has completely changed my life. The story uses biblical evidence to piece together the last fourteen hours of Jesus Christ's earthly mission before he was betrayed and murdered. While the descriptions of these events have proven very graphic and disturbing, the story helps to remind me of what Jesus did for me and the rest of his children. In context, not only has God saved me from my own sins, but he has graciously provided me with God-given abilities in the game of football. In these times of waiting, I move forward with the hopes of glorifying God each and everyday of my life, and I hope that I may glorify him with the kicking talents he has provided. No matter what, chasing the NFL has been more than I could have ever imagined. I could have never guessed that this journey would have happened eight years ago when I began it. I am truly blessed to have the experiences and opportunities I have had thus far, and all that God and the game of football have provided me in this lifetime. I am truly blessed. Whatever the path, I will continue to trust in the Lord and will be at his disposal to do his work in this world. I Love Jesus Christ. Thank You.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Countdown Is On

I have since returned home from the West Coast. I spent a wonderful Easter weekend in Phoenix, Arizona with my girlfriend Alli and her wonderful family. It was very nice to get away and spend time with them, especially since we don't see each other as much as we might like.

As the draft approaches, I have continued to hit the weight room and focus on core training and light weight training. I have also cut back on the punting workouts, given my leg has been through the grinder with camp. I have been in the process of getting individual workouts and visits set up with a few teams... all yet TBD. It has always been my dream to make the NFL and I am willing and able to play for any team. I will have to continue to pray and give all my heart and soul into preparing for the season and see what happens. 

The Journey Continues and God is very good. 


Gym in the AM

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nature 1, Punter 0

Punters and kickers alike know first-hand the challenges faced when kicking in adverse weather conditions. Needless to say, when the weather is extreme, the kicker/punter is at the mercy of mother nature. Our charting and workout day was cancelled yesterday due to a late snow storm that left layers of snow and a slab of ice covering the practice fields. While I was disappointed in not being able to workout, it was very nice to have a day of rest and relax the legs. One of my camp buddies and I headed to the El Derado Casino and treated ourselves to a large lunch buffet and a couple of pulls on the slot machine lever(s). I am happy to say that I managed to take home a whopping $16.00 on the 5 cent slot machines (BIG WINNINGS!) It was also nice to see Reno in its entirety. Being at camp a majority of the mornings and afternoons hinders us from roaming around and seeing all the sites and sounds. Needless to say, it was a great afternoon of roaming, lounging, and enjoying the Shell Houston Golf Invitational on ESPN.

The spectacular weather conditions continued into today with a blistering 25 degrees and a windchill that sent the temperature into the low teens. Getting the leg loose was quite a task but kicking the football was almost the equivalent of kicking a pineapple. The winds had also picked up so it made punting very interesting. While the weather was not wonderful, it is days like today that allow you to hone in on your punting and really concentrate on great technique, steps, leg swing, and following through. When you get tired, you tend to get lazy and your punting performance shows. Thus, bad weather forces you to focus on the task at hand and make every attempt to give your best punts. 

Today also marks the last official day of camp. I will be filming and charting on Monday (weather permitting) in Mackay Stadium at UNR prior to the walk-thru for the Free Agents who will be kicking for the NFL scouts and coaches on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have done what I can do in terms of getting my name and abilities out there. It is no longer in my hands. God has a plan for each and every one of us. No matter the outcome, I am just thankful to have been part of such an amazing game that has taught me so much about myself and has helped magnify what is truly important in life; love, faith, passion, and family. 

The Pursuit Continues...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Wall of Challenge

I quickly saw first-hand the large gap between a college and NFL-caliber punter/kicker today. We had two new guys show up for camp today and both put on quite a show during charting. Both have solid resumes as free agent signees to some of the best teams in the NFL (Giants, Jets, Cardinals, Bears, etc.) As charting began, one of the punters was hitting a consistent 50-yard, 5.2+ hangtime bomb. It was like magic. Likewise, I was happy with how I performed today during the two charts that I was able to record. The first set included a low punt of 38 yards, with the remainder of the punts between 43-47 yards, with the longest at 53 yards. However, the second chart was not as convincing. Of the 8 punts charted, my hang-times were in the lower 4.0 range and I had 4 in the high 30s range. I did not feel very comfortable on the set and it did not help when I was crossing over and trying to crush the ball. The hang-times were NFL-caliber (4.4-4.6) during the first chart but my hand-to-foot times are still slower than I would like. Thus, in my final week of workouts, I am looking to improve on my mechanics and put together great charts and great film for the scouts.

I'm looking forward to a great couple of days of charting. So far, the trip has been a good one and I have met some very great people who I look forward to staying in touch with once the camp comes to a close. God has blessed each one of us and whether or not the NFL journey is in my future, I know that I have been given this purpose for a reason and have learned more about myself during this trip than ever before. 

-Light the Way