Life After the Game
by Matthias R. Monschein
It's been said in many different ways that "Even when a door may close, a window flows open to leave the past behind. To each ending comes a new beginning that we can learn in time."
The door to an esteemed career in both professional Football and Baseball came to a close for Deion Sanders this past summer when he made the difficult decision of retirement from the game but as the saying goes the open window has opened a whole new spectrum in his sports career.
Consistent with the many other blessings in his life, Sanders has made the transition into broadcasting to share his expertise with countless sports viewers as a football analyst for the CBS sports team on both their college and NFL broadcasts.
Outward appearances are deceiving but Deion has always made things look easy.
Sanders can now look back and appreciate the struggles that he had to go through to get to this point in his career and realizes that if things did not change at that point in time that he was heading down a long and destructive road.
"All that's important is that I know where I've been, who I've been and what I am now."
Deion appeared to have the Midas touch when it came to his sports ability. All throughout high school he participated in as many activities as he could handle for instance, football, baseball, basketball and he also ran track. He excelled in all of them and soon earned the nickname "Primetime" by his friends who wanted to see him play. Everyone was watching him and that gave him the determination to play like a winner in everything that he did. Sports has not been the only influence in his life. There was also his mother whom he held much respect for and thought the world of.
Sanders even turned down an opportunity to play for the Kansas City Royals in his senior year of High School and chose to attend Florida State University so his mother would be able to see him play.
Deion went to church with his mother when he was younger and unknown to him, a fruitful foundation was established early on.
Sanders has not touched a sip of alcohol or smoked a cigarette. While he was in college, Sanders decided to break himself of the habit of using any curse words and to break him from the habit, he would pay someone five dollars every time he said one.
"Both my father and step father were addicted to that stuff." Said Sanders. "I decided that I didn't want to be messed up like that."
The discipline that he showed of the field was beginning to appear on the field as well.
He excelled throughout college and was drafted by the New York Yankees before his senior year at FSU and played professional baseball while finishing out his senior year in college.
Deion was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1989 and enjoyed the professional life but things were about to take a dramatic change.
He was now a two-sport player, which was rarely done, in professional football and baseball. Pressure started to build for Deion and nothing seemed to cure the problems. "Primetime" was not able to adjust to the pressure of worldly fame in his career.
"After scoring touchdowns and dancing in the end zone, after a stadium full of cheering fans had finally gone home, I was still empty inside."
Sanders had just about everything that he could possibly want in life but nothing could keep him happy. Things seemed so out of control that Deion actually drove his custom made car off of a cliff in an attempt to kill himself.
Sander's world was falling apart from within and his life was breaking down around him until the Lord gave him a vision one night at four in the morning.
"I was wakened up by these awesome lights in my room it was a lot like a 747 landing next to me. I remember opening up my eyes a little and saying "God if that is you, take me. Take me Lord." I was trembling all over."
Deion picked up his Bible and opened it up to a passage out of the book of Romans 10: 9-10; "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession was made unto salvation."
"Those words were meant for me and they hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew that they were meant for me and at that precise moment I was delivered and I'll never forget that night."
There comes a point in time where a person realizes exactly what they have done wrong and knowing the right thing to do. Deion put his trust in Jesus and asked him into his life.
"After that, all of the little things started to change. I was still going through the all of the mess in my life, but the more that I read the Bible and the more that I learned about the Christian life, the easier it was to deal with all of the bad stuff.
Deion does not know what the Lord's will for him will be in the future but he understands fully that it his success has been a gift from the Lord Jesus Christ and that he must use that gift to glorify and give thanks.