Difference-Makers in 2020

Three difference-makers from 2020.


I’ve been impressed by how some professional football players have looked beyond themselves to be a difference-maker during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 has produced a lot of horrifying stories, but the sports world has produced some very good ones. Here are three.

I was in Kansas City two years ago and read about a unique Kansas City football player, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. He was the starting right tackle for the Chiefs and the only medical doctor playing professional football.

He completed his medical residency and attended all the practice sessions for the Chiefs. He would make rounds late in the evening, then study, then sleep a little at the hospital, and then report for practice with the Chiefs. That’s amazing discipline!

He played a big role last February when the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV. He is greatly admired in Kansas City. I used him as an illustration when I spoke at a large leadership conference in KC, and then again as I preached at the Church of the Resurrection on Sunday.

A few weeks later, COVID-19 hit. Would he continue preparing for an even greater football career or use his medical skills to treat COVID-19 patients? He chose to opt-out of the 2020 football season and go back to his hometown of Quebec, Canada, and work in a long-term health care facility. He made a difference in football, but he made an even bigger difference by using his medical skills to save the lives of many people and treat many others. He is a difference-maker!

Another Kansas City Chiefs player was a difference-maker – Patrick Mahomes. He was the team captain and quarterback who led the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl LIV win. He also won the Most Valuable Player award.

Mahomes wanted to show the people in Kansas City the importance of voting. He paid the cost of using Arrowhead Stadium as a polling place. He said, “I thought it was very important not only to get as many people out to vote as possible, but to be able to use a place such as Arrowhead where we have a lot of fun, show a lot of love and unity, and use it as a place where we can come together to vote and use our voice.” Thanks, Patrick, for a big score at Arrowhead that didn’t directly involve football.

Another professional football player who made a difference in 2020 was Dak Prescott, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. People will remember that picture of his injury when he was carted off the field, tears streaming down his face, and his right hand raised above his head.

But he had a bigger impact when he confessed his mental health struggles following his brother’s suicide. He became a role model for the millions who are also struggling with depression and anxiety. Prescott said, “Before I can lead people to where they want to be, I think that it is important to be vulnerable, to be genuine, and to be transparent.” He made a bigger difference by addressing his mental health struggles than he did throwing touchdown passes!

Jesus said, “…Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant…” (Mark 10:43)

Will you be a difference-maker in 2021?

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