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An Unexpected Journey of Football and Faith

From Pee Wee dropout to the NFL sidelines, Ben Malcolmson shares his unlikely story of football, purpose and following an amazing God. Read Transcript

- Now to him who is ableto do immeasurably more

than all we ask or imagine,

according to his powerthat is at work in us,

to him be the glory inChrist Jesus forever.

- [Narrator] Immeasurablymore has elaborately carried

Ben Malcolmson fromcollege student reporter

to the Seattle Seahawks front office.

- Give me the official formal title.

- Special Assistant to Pete Carroll,

Director of External Relations.

My daily job with Coach Carroll,

it's kind of a Swiss Army knife,

it's kind of all over the place,

helping him prepare formeetings, for practices,

for the games, video stuff, media stuff,

everything in between, hosting guests,

being the sounding board for him.

I'm so fortunate in my job,I get to be around some

incredible people and obviouslywe have football players,

our coaches, especiallyworking for someone

like Coach Carrollwho's so full of energy.

- He's really been mypartner in putting together

the presentation of this scheme

and the principles and the approaches

that I give even as we extendthe message beyond the team.

That very next turn thatyou make in the road

may be something specialand if you want to live

a life of wonder, you can.

And I certainly hope thatpeople will get that sense

from Ben's book and it's a great story

and I think it's a greatillustration of how

things can surprise you in life,

but you gotta bereceptive to the fact that

that can happen.

- You are a trainedjournalist, now an author.

Sitting in a room like this, a pressroom

for a football team, howwould you write your story?

- Oh man, I would lovethe title to just be

pointed towards the amazing wonders of God

and just the way that hewrites incredible stories

in each one of our lives, whether it gets

a lot of attention or not.

- Summarize your USC experience.

- Wild and unexpected.

My USC experience wentfrom a journalism major

to unexpectedly making the football team

and my life took a turn from there.

- The USC Rudy.

- (laughs) Some peoplehave said that, yeah.

I was writing for the school newspaper,

the Daily Trojan, and thought of an idea

to write a story aboutthe walk ons on the team.

What if I go through the tryout myself?

There's an open tryoutfor any student at USC.

So it was gonna be a total joke.

I mean, I was a newspaper reporter

and I hadn't playedfootball since fifth grade,

I was undersized, I hadno football pedigree

and there I was trying out.

- [Interviewer] So youfill a 30 inch column.

- (laughs)

- [Interviewer] But youfound out you got more.

- Yeah and it was a goldmine of a story.

Got a phone call the day after the tryout

saying I made the football team.

At first I thought it was a prank

and there I was getting a playbook,

I was getting checkedin with my equipment,

and a couple days laterI was out practicing

with the top ranked footballteam in the country.

- Then all of a sudden, injury comes.

- Yeah.

So I was out blocking ona play in practice one day

and I get my arm caughtin a cornerback's pad.

He rolls over me and Idislocated my shoulder

and I'm out for nine months.

After the season wasover, but for some reason

I felt this nudge that I needed to rehab

and get back as fast as I possibly could

and through a lot of amazing support,

people praying, I was backin four and half months

and the doctors were like,we've never done this before,

but you're clear to go backonto the football field.

- And then the campaign on campus starts.

- Yeah, so a bunch ofstudents saw themselves in me.

You know, I was just the average student

and so they started acampaign, Get Ben In.

And they wanted to seeme get a play in a game.

They were chanting in the student section,

they made T-shirts, they made signs,

and it kind of became therally cry for the student body.

- You work your way into the game,

final home game of the season,

against Rooney's Notre Dame.

- (laughs) Running out of the tunnel,

90,000 fans, yeah this was crazy.

The quarterback calls theplay, I ride victory on one,

there I am standing there on the line,

lined up as wide receiver,

and the funny thing is thatwe never practiced that play.

It's not even in theplaybook because it's just

a quarterback kneel.

Thankfully I figured it out.

I mean it was so surreal.

It was just a sense of awe.

Wow, God is truly amazing.

- What carried youthrough the whole process?

- Well I had this overwhelming sense

that God was with me in it,just encouraging me along

and that I did have a purpose there

and I needed to find it.

I tried to start a Biblestudy, that failed.

Tried to start a prayergroup, that failed.

It was very discouraging,very disheartening.

But I knew deep down in my soul

that God had me there for a reason,

far greater than just playing football.

And then I got an idea, so I place a Bible

in everyone's locker on Christmas Eve

and we get back, rightbefore the Rose Bowl

on January 1st, I couldn'twait to get there that day

because this is whyGod had me on the team.

And I walk into the locker room

and I see Bibles just shredded.

Pages ripped up, thrownall over the floor.

You could barely even see the carpet.

The trash can was half full of Bibles.

I mean, I was devastated.

I had poured my heart and soul into trying

to find my purpose, have an impact for God

and it had failed once again.

- Investigators say they are confident

that the death of Trojans' place kicker

Mario Danelo was not a homicide.

- [Interviewer] Tell me whoMario was, what he was to you.

- Well Mario Danelo wasour kicker on the team

and he was the fun-loving, enjoyable guy.

He was one of my closest friends.

He had mysteriously passed away

a couple days after the Rose Bowl.

It was absolutely heartbreaking.

We go to the funeral together as a team

and on top of his casket was the Bible

that I had placed in his locker.

Same little red note sticking out of it,

saying that the greatest giftthat you'll ever receive,

the gift of Jesus Christ.

It helped me get throughthat grieving process

and so then fast forward a few years

and I move out to Seattleto work for Coach Carroll

at the Seahawks and I reconnectwith a former teammate

of mine at USC, his name was Taylor,

he was our punter on the team.

He tells me that his lifehad totally turned around

the previous couple years.

I was like, what happened?

He's like, "Do you remember the last week

we were on the teamtogether, there were Bibles

in all of our lockers."

He saw Mario thumbing through the Bible,

he can't get enough, andTaylor for some reason

goes back and sits down next to Mario

and shares the words inred are words of Jesus,

the son of God, the savior of the world,

he came to die to make you right with God

and he started a relationship with God.

And then a few days laterobviously he passes away

and he saw God working and orchestrating

in his life and in Mario's life

just in the days before Mario passes away,

so Taylor on the spotrecommits his life to Christ

and the Bibles in thelocker, I thought it was

a total failure, but he was there

and he was rescuing, he was saving Mario

just before he passedaway and then he turned

Taylor's life around, too.

I mean it's just unbelievable.

- What did you discoverbetween tending to just

the next task and beingambushed by something


- I think that's the eternal question,

holding the sense of wonder and amazement

at what God desires to doand the beautiful thing is

it doesn't take striving,it takes surrendering,

it takes releasing, thatwow, God, you do have control

of my life and I need tojust let him write it.

I don't need to take the pen from him,

I need to continue to give him the pen

to write that amazing story in my life

and in the lives of the people around me.

He has become the king of my life

and he leads me becausethe things of this world,

they fade away, they don't satisfy

like a relationship, atrue living relationship

with Jesus does.

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