Two years ago, I was watching and reading about the NFL mock drafts all the way up to the draft itself. That year was so different for me because I had a vested interest. I have a friend with whom I coached high school football who is now a NFL coach. So needless to say, I was more into it this year than I have been in years past. But I do have to confess that this draft was also special because of an athlete out of Oregon named Marcus Mariota. He’s from Hawaii and is of Samoan descent. So my interest in Marcus was influenced by his bloodline because I, too, am a descendant of the Samoan people.
It seems that all the NFL experts were talking about is Marcus’ ability, or the lack thereof in their opinion, to play quarterback in the NFL. I have my own thoughts about that subject, but I’ll leave that for another day. Discussions about his character and what a great role model he is, seems to me to be glaringly absent in their commentary. As I began to watch and read everything about Marcus, there was this theme that kept coming up every time they interviewed his friends, coaches, teammates and family members. That word was influence. Influence is defined as the ability to affect others or events, or the experience of being affected by someone or something else. I watched a video where all of the Oregon sports teams thanked Marcus for his influence on their teams. I saw the influence he had on the people of Hawaii. So much so that L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is opening up restaurant in Nashville where he was drafted!
Influence can be a powerful thing. Scripture recognizes the wide-ranging power of influence for both good and evil. Matthew 5:13-16 says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Influence is when you become salt in the world. As coaches who follow Jesus we should be that salt that is needed in the coaching world. Are we influencing the world for good or for evil?
– Coach Joe Nu’u is a linebackers coach at Valor Christian High School. He is a speaker and author of the book, “Invisible Lines.”
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