Story of Faith: Kurt Henderson

October 8, 2014

Why build these cities glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the world, unless
The builder also grows.

BYU profile

 

My name is Kurt and I play football for Brigham Young University. Last week we stepped on the field with National Championship dreams and a Heisman Candidate quarterback. Sixty minutes on the play clock later, we stepped off the field with a crushing loss and an injured quarterback. Our dreams for a national championship and perfect season were over.

Since that game I’ve had a few people ask me, “Is football even worth it for you anymore?”

My answer is “Yes.” First, because our pride in who we are. And then because of our fans, friends, and families who have supported us through peewee leagues, late night broadcasts, exhilarating wins, and heartbreaking losses.

But maybe more importantly, football is still worth it because, ultimately, it was never about a perfect season, national championship, or the Heisman award. I’m sure that sounds crazy to anyone who knows anything about college football – and don’t get me wrong – if any team wanted that perfect record, it was ours. We’ve poured in thousands of hours, and given literal blood, sweat, and tears. We’ve sacrificed our grades, our bodies and our time all to be a national championship team. We have an undying desire to win.

But at the end of the day, that’s not really what it’s about. Trophies collect dust and rings are hollow, but what we become through the game of football lasts forever.

I feel like this is the lesson I was supposed to learn as I came to BYU 4 years ago.

My football career didn’t start with an official visit, national letter of intent, scholarships, or fall camp with the latest Nike issue gear. It started with an invitation to try out, a pair of old shorts, a faded jersey, and a dogged faith that I could make the team. During spring workouts I quickly became sore, behind in my classes, and very aware that everyone on the team was extremely talented. It wasn’t long before I was trying to figure out where I fit in – if I fit in at all.

After getting minimal reps and being called by my number because no one knew my name, I found myself with a black garbage bag with my remaining gear thrown inside, hustling out of the locker room hoping that no teammate would see me as I ran to my car with the shame of “not being good enough”, or cut from the team.

This was a huge crossroads for me, maybe one of the biggest of my life. I knew the work and time it would require to make the team again. After a lot of thought and prayer, I decided this was a program, a cause, and a team that I wanted to commit to. I would do all I could to make it on the team come fall.

I used codes to get into the facilities from other teammates and began to train and study film on the great players. I lifted longer, ran harder, and aligned my life to do anything that would give me a chance. I knew I had to give my all to have a shot even to make it on the scout team.

After the season began, tryouts were held for walk-ons, and I went with complete confidence in my preparation that summer. I had a great tryout, and at the end of the day I was on the roster for the scout team. I’ll never forget the first time the equipment manager handed me a new pair of cleats, shorts, gloves and a plain white helmet with no decals. I grabbed that helmet and kissed it. I had summited my first mountain and made the team, but the climb was just beginning.

Jaren Wilkey

Every practice was a battle. I basically was a piece of meat to be thrown around so the starters could loosen up their shoulders for the next game and have a good read on the offense. Coaches still didn’t know my name, and I remember limping off the field, blood and sweat dripping off of me, wondering if I was experiencing a concussion or it was just another headache. When I accepted that my situation wasn’t going to change quickly, I decided I would make the most of this next step, using practices against one of the top defenses in the country to help me develop my route running skills, and learn to read defenses. Always in the back of my mind was my goal of being a BYU play-maker on a championship team, but I had to take it one practice at a time.

The year soon ended and I noticed something that surprised me. The same names who had been across the headlines just months before were now walking around campus wearing last year’s gear and just trying to graduate. The hype and praise that had surrounded them left quicker than I could have ever imagined. I determined that whether I ever made it in football or not, I wouldn’t let my story end the day I hung up the cleats. I began to climb more strategically and focus not only on developing as a football player, but as a man and a student of life.

Spring ball came again, and I felt like this was my chance time to make a spot on the 105. While most guys were fighting for a starting spot or coach recognition, I just wanted to make the squad. For all I knew, most coaches didn’t even know my name! After a bloody battle, I caught another break and made the 105. I wasn’t on scholarship, but I was on the roster. I had learned to be grateful for every small victory: catching a ball, running a crisp route, five extra pounds on my bench max, or winning the conditioning test were all opportunities to prove to both myself and the team.

total blue sports

My freshman year I saw minimal playing time, but it was time nonetheless! My sophomore year I continued to improve and see more time on the field. Fast forward to this season – my junior year – and after practice before our second game against Texas, Coach Mendenhall called me up in front of the team and stated, “as of right now, Kurt Henderson is a scholarship player.” My brothers erupted and rejoiced with me in this victory; we were on the quest for perfection together.

With high hopes and some huge wins, it was only a few weeks later that we were rocked with a loss that ended our perfect season.

That same weekend, two teammates and I had the chance of a lifetime: after attending our church’s General Conference, we met Gifford Neilsen, one of my biggest football and spiritual heroes, and M. Russell Ballard, a spiritual coach for me personally and a leader of my church.

image1

The three of us players hung on to every word and feeling that came from our two heroes, and we chatted with them for a while about football and life as Elder Ballard invited us to his office.  He then turned to us said “I know it’s hard to believe that life isn’t all about football, but what you heard in conference today is what life is all about.”

As we entered his room the plaque on his desk caught my eye:

Why build these cities glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the world, unless
The builder also grows.

Ironically my dad had memorized this poem and used to recite it to us growing up, but the words hit me then like never before. This is what football and life was all about, and this is what we had heard that day in General Conference. We don’t play or live for the glory – for the roaring of the fans, for the trophies, or for the rings. We play to become men who will someday be husbands and fathers, leaders and examples.

I recognized that was what I was learning all along in football. It’s about becoming. It’s about facing adversity and setbacks and failures and letting them light your fire to be better and get stronger. It’s about not blaming setbacks on teammates or coaches or tough calls, but instead asking, “is it I that needs to improve or make changes?” It’s about seeking perfection while learning what to do with adversity and defeat. It’s about holding onto faith in things we can’t yet see as we work towards the goal of perfection.

Our chance at a perfect season is over. We lost. We gave everything and couldn’t have wanted it more, but the fact of the matter is, we will not have a perfect record this year. It hurts. But in the end it’s not the end –not for this season or for us.

This is why football’s still worth it for me, and why I’m proud to lace up my cleats again tomorrow night with my brothers. I’m grateful to play alongside men and coaches who give their all to be better every day, every practice, and every game, and to continue seeking a perfect record long after our time on the field is done.

stadium

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57 Comments

  • Reply kim October 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you Kurt. Sometimes we forget to value the lessons learned through life’s rough experiences. You have reminded us to keep fighting the good fight, and letting it mold us into what our Father would have us be, and we will come through with a victory.

  • Reply David Jensen October 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Well said Kurt! Proud of you. Pumped to go to your game tomorrow!

  • Reply Kelly M October 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    This hit home for our family. After years of college sports for my husband and I, we don’t have much to show for it, but we learned so much from our trials and setbacks about ourselves and life. Wonderfully written and inspiring. I will be sending it to my young brother in laws who all hope to one day be at BYU.

  • Reply R.Jay October 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    What a great Read Kurt ! Thank you for sharing

  • Reply Robbie Harmon October 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    You, my friend, are destined to do great thing! Thanks for your example.

  • Reply Warrior_47 October 8, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Too bad you couldn’t take us to state at Snow Canyon. One too many prayer throws to Dalton, I think.

  • Reply Natali October 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for the uplifting message. A very relatable topic for sure. Best of luck the rest of this season!

  • Reply Dad October 8, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Tears of joy from a dad who is certain that “you get it”!

    • Reply Another Dad October 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Well said, Dad – well said!

    • Reply Yet another dad October 9, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4

    • Reply Yet one more dad October 11, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Your son is a lucky man, as are you! Well said!

  • Reply Eric October 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Not only were/are you an inspiring missionary, but also an amazing man and role model to all around you veli. Paljon rakkaudella, Veli Watson

  • Reply Andrew October 8, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    One word. Inspirational.

  • Reply Jesika Harmon October 8, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Wonderful story of true faith. Such a blessing to have that perspective! You are amazing Kurt!

  • Reply Kenny October 8, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Met you and your dad at Disneyland after your poinsettia bowl performance. Great people. We’ve been following you since! Don’t give up. Rock it tomorrow.

  • Reply P.Norton October 8, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Kurt, I’ve always known what an amazing young man you are and am so glad I’ve had a front row seat since the beginning. I’m even happier that you still find ways to grow and inspire others as you do. It’s fun to sit back and watch as so many others now get to see what many of us have known all along, keep it up!!

  • Reply Riley October 8, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    People like you is why I go to bed at night thinking about BYU and wake up wondering if I missed anything while asleep.
    I proud tonight to say the reason I’ll live and die a cougar is because you aren’t just a normal football team. You’re heros! Thanks for your message.

  • Reply Tyler McGinnis October 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    You rock champ. Proud of you.

  • Reply M October 9, 2014 at 12:16 am

    We support you guys, go out there and make us proud.

  • Reply Adam Greenwood October 9, 2014 at 1:41 am

    Thank You Kurt.You made me feel a lot better about the game last weekend.

  • Reply Carolyn Lusignan October 9, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Thank you to my good friends the Westover’s for sharing this story of perserverience, determination and just the knowledge that god only puts mountains in front of us not to keep us out but to teach us how bad we want something. Kurt you rock!!!!!!

  • Reply Jason October 9, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Kurt – great words! I do not say it just because you are a cousin either. Thank you for writing.

  • Reply kayla October 9, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Kurt we will be there at your game of course pulling for you and the cougars but we have always been and will always be pulling for you as our friend and brother. We love you, your positive attitude, perspective and friendship. Carrie and Lon (president) have so much to be proud of… the good kind of pride 😉 Tha Hall family

  • Reply Brenda Crawford October 9, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Great article! Excellent insight. You’ve shared so many truths and great lessons. Good luck with the rest of your story . . .

  • Reply Taylor October 9, 2014 at 8:39 am

    What a blessing to have you share your perspective on the BYU experience. Keep digging and fighting bro!

  • Reply Rogan Taylor October 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Kurt
    The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. You’re awesome. Great to hear your story of faith, work and success. Even if though your success is not what your satisfied with …. yet. Life always provides us us with the lessons that we need to shape us in to who we need to become. The thing I liked the best about my kids playing sports, was them learning how to handle disappointment. Learning to lose, win, work hard, have discipline , team work and handle disappointment. Sports has it all. It teaches many lessons of life. Kurt, we love ya, and we love all of your family. We’re in Florida to watch the game today. We’ll watch for you. Good luck. Go Cougs.

  • Reply Jamie October 9, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Reply Tyler Wilkinson October 9, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Kurt,

    You are wise beyond your years. What a wonderful perspective you have. Thanks for sharing…it made my day.

  • Reply Ted October 9, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Kurt,

    Thank you for sharing your story; here is a copy of mine…

    “54”

    October 16, 2007

    (Coach Bronco Mendenhall, in an email dated October 9, 2007, invited each “former” BYU football player to write a letter to the current and future players concerning the number each of us had as a student-athlete at BYU. He indicated that he felt that this would help them to gain a feeling for what that number has meant to those in the past. He was hopeful that they would be motivated and encouraged to be the best representative possible of that particular number. He encouraged us to share our feelings about being a Cougar, then and now.)

    Hey! Fifty-Four, how’d you get that number? It used to be my number (as far as I’m concerned, it still is; but you can borrow it for a time). When you came to BYU, did you pick your number, or just end up with it? When they gave me number Fifty-Four in the fall of 1969, I was just happy to have a jersey. It was my second number; (they gave me number fifty-nine in the spring of 1969 but that number ended up going to someone else).

    I’ll bet you’re a “Big Guy”; probably a lineman, maybe a linebacker (when was the last time someone called you a “Skill Player”? I’m guessing, never!). I was a linebacker (still think like one). Problem was I didn’t look like a linebacker, especially a middle linebacker (six-feet tall and 200 pounds in the program, (195 on the field)). I may not have been big, but I was slow (forty-yards in five-seconds flat). It was no wonder BYU didn’t knock my door down trying to recruit me into their program. Truth be known, it was probably only out of courtesy that they even returned my phone calls. However, they did buy me lunch one day when one of their scouts was in my neighborhood, just before they let me know that I was “too small for their program”. (That’s not what I wanted to hear!)

    So what if they didn’t invite me to join their team. I showed up anyway! After completing two seasons at Fullerton Junior College (undefeated National & California State Champs in 1967, we lost one game in 1968 and thereby spoiled our chance to repeat), as I was saying, after my two seasons at Fullerton, and having my heart set on attending BYU, it was time for me to take action. So, I enrolled at BYU just like any other transfer student would, and then (after taking about a month to build up my courage) walked into the office of Head Coach Tommy Hudspeth and asked him if he would let me try out for his team. Here was his response, “well son, we’ll give ya a look see”. He then introduced me to defensive coach LaVell Edwards. Coach Edwards got me a locker, some equipment and a practice jersey bearing the number fifty-nine. Now, I was in business!

    After several very humbling but rewarding weeks of spring practice (did you see the movie “Invincible”? I lived it that spring!), it was time to meet with Coach Hudspeth to see where I stood. He was relatively positive (with comments like, “you hit real good son, but you’re not very big and you don’t run fast”), positive right up to the point where he invited me to come back in the fall, and he even offered me free books and a job in the equipment room that would pay $20 per month.

    To me, it didn’t seem like much of an offer. Mostly, it didn’t seem fair! So I turned it down. (Boy did I show him! That’s when I learned what people mean when they say, “don’t cut off your nose to spite your face”.) Now I was headed back home empty handed, knowing that my friends and family would require a full report. It was a report I didn’t enjoy giving.

    After a long summer working my job, saving money, and in the evenings working out five-days a week with my former Fullerton team-mates (as if I had some where to go play football that fall like each of them did), I realized that free books and $20 per month was more than enough to compensate me for my athletic services. So, I called Coach Hudspeth at the end of the summer to let him know the good news, that I was now willing to accept his offer. Problem was, he informed me that the offer was no longer available. What I had turned down now belonged to someone else. Now what?

    Well, I didn’t have an offer to join the team the first time I showed up either! So, I just showed up again! And once more, to my relief, Coach Hudspeth agreed to let me have a fully stocked locker. This time they gave me number Fifty-Four (not just a practice jersey, but this time they included a game jersey). And believe me; I didn’t plan on voluntarily giving this number back anytime soon!

    In the fall of 1969 our team won six games and lost four. I was on the field each time we kicked off, and each time we punted (and we punted a lot!). I also got to play a little bit at linebacker. I didn’t play in the middle where I felt most at home, but I did get to back up senior Rick Dixon at weak-side linebacker (we played a 4-3 defense mostly). Rick was a good player, and a better person. In my opinion he deserved his starting role. I really enjoyed being part of the team that year, and looked forward to my senior season since I was sure that I, as his back-up, would be the one that would have the best chance to replace Rick Dixon.

    The first day of spring practice in 1970 I received what seemed to be some really bad news, but what turned out to be great news. That first day I was suited up and ready to take the field when I stopped by the bulletin board to confirm that I was first string weak-side linebacker (after all, Rick Dixon was done). I was literally shocked to see that my name was not listed at that position, at all. As I regained my bearings I started looking for my name at other positions; there it was, listed at middle linebacker, in third position behind our returning starter and behind a JC transfer who had been a “Red Shirt” during the 1969 season. (If that was a move by the coaching staff designed to build my confidence, it didn’t work.)

    Of course, the really bad news had been that I was not first string as I had anticipated I would be, but instead I was third string. The great news was that finally I would get to play my position, middle linebacker. Here was my chance to show what I could do playing a position that I loved. By the end of the spring session that year, I had moved up to second string and I was awarded a full-ride scholarship for my senior year. It was a good spring; I had been accepted as a member of the team, I felt like I belonged. As I returned home that summer, I carried with me a deep feeling of satisfaction coupled with a fierce level of determination; determination to make the best of my senior year, whatever came my way.

    As I am sure you can appreciate, my homecoming report that summer compared to the previous year, for me, was much more enjoyable! It’s no secret that whenever a Cougar (any Cougar), returns to his home, his previous coaches, teachers, advisors, leaders, and all those who at some time invested in his development over the years are all big fans and want to get the inside dope straight from the “horse’s-mouth”. This summer, for the first time, I was a Cougar; I was number “Fifty-Four”, and I was more than pleased to talk to my fans.

    I returned to BYU in the fall of 1970 for my senior season. Starting with two-a-days and continuing through to the first game, Coach Edwards had me practice at both weak-side linebacker and middle linebacker. I was second string at middle (although I wanted his spot, in my opinion, the first string middle linebacker earned and deserved his position) and I alternated with Bill Dvorak at weak-side. In the first half of the opening game that season, our first-string middle linebacker, Carl Bowers suffered a season ending knee injury (fortunately, he was able to come back and play the following year). For the very first time, and perhaps you could say by default, I entered a BYU game as the first-string middle linebacker. I was ready; and it was a wonderful feeling! I had a good game that first game and ended up starting the remaining ten games that season and leading our team in tackles. (Our record that season was three wins and eight losses.)

    So, that’s my report on what Fifty-Four was doing back in 1969 and 1970. During those two years that I was responsible for our number, there was no Hiesman Trophy earned, no pro-career started, I wasn’t selected as an All-American, didn’t make All-Conference (not even second team). I wasn’t a “Blue-Chip” athlete and there has been no induction into the “Hall of Fame”. As far as measured achievements and bestowed honors go, the list is short. The best I can report is that the Western Athletic Conference honored me for one game as “Co-Defensive Player of The Week” the week we lost to Arizona State. (During that game they credited me with eight unassisted tackles, 15 assisted tackles, a deflected pass and two blocked kicks (not bad for a non-recruited walk-on). For the eleven-game season, Coach Edwards credited me with 173 tackles (three tackles short of averaging 16 tackles per game) (see footnote below).)

    When Carl Bowers injured his knee, and I finally got my moment, I did my best (most of the time) to make sure that Fifty-Four was the best Fifty-Four that BYU could put on the field at that time, which was enough. In return, through my football experience, I learned some of life’s toughest and most important lessons and ultimately left BYU with a deep sense of satisfaction (which no one will ever be able to take from me) and an increased level of preparation for my next set of challenges in life.

    Whenever I “Rise and Shout”, read a sports section or otherwise come in contact with the BYU sphere, special memories and feelings are awakened within me. In that regard, I’m thankful that I was invited to write this letter; the process has served to intensify and help me to stay connected to those same memories and feelings. I’m very much pleased to be a life-time Cougar!

    When you get as old as I am, you too will have license to write some long-winded narrative like you just read. In the meantime, consider this, BYU accepted the responsibility of selecting you to represent the number Fifty-Four during your eligibility period; your only responsibility is a total commitment to maximum preparation and then to try to do your best, always (and after those times you don’t do your best, simply try harder). During your turn representing our number, endeavor to make sure that Fifty-Four is always the best Fifty-Four that BYU can put on the field and you will find peace of mind for many years to come, whatever the outcome from your efforts.

    With honor,

    Ted D. Nelson
    “54”
    1969-70
    BYU Football

    Footnote: You won’t find any of the above statistics in the 2007 Media Guide; the method used for gathering data for the Media Guide doesn’t seem to work well for us “Old Cats”. The data shared in this letter came from a scrapbook my young bride put together back in 1970. The eleven-game statistics were part of a document personally given to each of us defensive players by Coach Edwards at the end of our season. The statistics for the ASU game came from three separate collaborating newspaper articles. (I recently (in 2014) found a website, http://www.cougarstats.com which collaborates the eleven-game statistics found in the “Edwards Document” and if you do the math, indicates that an average of almost 16 tackles per game for one full season may be the school record.)

  • Reply Kurtle October 9, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Hey Kurt:

    This is awesome buddy. You are a real example of faith, determination, and perseverance. Lisa and I are so blessed to have you as a friend but more importantly the impact and brotherhood you have had with Marcus and Mitch. You are one amazing man.

  • Reply tiffani hafen October 9, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I’m not a big fan of football. No actual reason why. But I’m a big fan of this. I have a lot of respect for you Kurt, and for all of you incredibly hard – talented- team players! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Veli Gamblin October 9, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Thanks for the Letter Kurt. Good for you, and Good luck with the rest of your Season! Though I Go to The UofU, I’ll be cheering for you and watching some of the games just for you Veli.
    Onnea

  • Reply Christine October 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you so much. I play on a sports team at BYU and I’ve been struggling so much this off season that every time I lace up my cleats and put my gear on, I feel like quitting and leaving everything that I have worked for for the past 6 years.
    Everything you just said makes me want to keep playing and not give up on myself or my team. Your words have been an answer to my prayers about quitting or staying so thank you so much! Good luck in the upcoming game. I’ll be cheering from Provo.

  • Reply Buzzard October 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Kurt, I don’t know if you read these comments, but I want you to know I found a #13 jersey on a clearance rack a couple of years ago. I always wanted a nice BYU jersey, so I picked it up, and since then, have worn my “Kurt Henderson” jersey with pride both to games and around town.

  • Reply Jim October 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Well said Kurt. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing your story of making the team along with your refreshing perspective on life and football. Good luck and I’ll be cheering you on tonight. Go Cougars!

  • Reply Les October 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Great article. I try to remember that after a game like last Friday. I love Taysom Hill, but I’m excited for Christian Stewart. He has been the ultimate team player and now he gets his shot. He probably expected to end his career without ever playing a meaningful game for the Cougars, but now he’s the leader of the team. I hope he does well!!!

  • Reply Robbieb October 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Isn’t it great that young men and women can understand so well who we are and why we are here. Kurt, you don’t know me, but that’s ok. I’ll be chearing as loud as ever from So Cal and may God bless us all to take some Kurt Henserson perspective. Go Cougs

  • Reply Lizzie Langston October 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Go get ’em ! I loved the phrase “student of life”… I think that about sums it up. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Bruce Anderson October 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Did you notice that Kurt Henderson also learned to be a very good writer?

  • Reply Jeri Kay October 9, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you, Kurt for sharing your story. I appreciate the reminder that life is more than a series of wins and losses!

  • Reply Julie colton October 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Your story is uplifting and inspiring, Kurt. Generally in life there are as many losses as wins, and our greatest growth occurs when we have to lift ourself up from defeat. You are embracing that opportunity to learn! Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Curt Thomas October 9, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Kurt,
    Thank you for sharing. I totally agree! I had a similar experience as a walk on DB at BYU. I couldn’t have said it better. I was fortunate tobe on the team when Ty won the Heisman. Unfortunately the season didn’t end the way we wanted it to. But we learned. I will never forget or regret any of the time and effort I put into football at BYU. It has helped in all aspects of my life. Know tht you have definitely got a big fan here in S.D.
    BTW I also went to Suomi on my mission 85-87. Go Cougars!

  • Reply Lance October 9, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Kurt,
    I have loved and respected your family since the day that I met you all. It was my pleasure to have coached you and your brother on the baseball field down here in the south. It is awesome to watch each of you young men grow and become friends, examples, and leaders. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and for always being a righteous warrior in our Heavenly Fathers army. I look forward to watching what you will accomplish throughout the rest of your life, both on and off the field.
    Go Cougars!!!
    The Church is True My Friend!!!!

  • Reply Chris Hobson October 9, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    MR. Henderson,

    That was an incredibly life-changing perspective that you gave me. This only goes to prove that missions don’t end when we take off the name badge that says “ELDER”. I am proud of the wise man that you have become.

    Personally, I have never watched a BYU football game but I was out to eat with my wife when I heard your name on the TV. I had to look up and see if it was the same Kurt who I used to babysit in Green Valley and there you were. I might actually begin to tune in every now and again to see you play.

    I am not surprised, knowing your family, that these words came from you. I hope to raise my three boys and two girls to be like you. Your attitude and spirit will guide you through your football and college career and throughout your life. Based on many of the comments written in response to your words of wisdom, your mission is just beginning.

    I’m proud of who you have become.

    Sincerely,

    Chris Hobson

  • Reply Matt October 10, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I’m a die-hard Utah fan, but I really enjoyed this article – thanks for your example!

  • Reply J NORT October 10, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Spot on Kurt!!! Your perspective and your words are not only inspiring and heartfelt, but it’s wonderful to know that it comes from someone that literally means every word of it. Your character and integrity match your work ethic. Thanks to the Henderson’s for guiding a once lost soul!!

  • Reply KIM A. October 10, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Kurt,

    Thank you for this inspiring message. A true example of the proper perspective. I have always admired you and grateful to have watched you play over the years. Thank you for representing the values of this University well as an athlete on the team. We are a big fan!

  • Reply Jim Gazdik October 11, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. It was uplifting to hear you express what is important in this life. We read it with great interest. May you be blessed for your efforts!

  • Reply Sarah Terry October 12, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Thanks for having the idea to share this Liz (and Dave too for emailing it to me). It was so well written and inspiring!

  • Reply Jane Pash October 12, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Truly Inspiring Words – so glad you had the opportunity to meet Elder Giff Nielsen at General Conference! He is truly a great man, when our family relocated to the US from Australia he was our Stake President in Houston, Texas. He would always tell the youth “good choices equal happiness” – your story is another example of this – winning or losing a ball game will not bring happiness…..living a life of integrity, making good choices, never giving up on a dream and always striving to be your best self will bring the greater rewards!

  • Reply Nate Henderson October 14, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Well said Cousin! It is about “becoming”. Because of the Savior and His plan, victory will be the final outcome if we choose it. I hope you sent a copy of this to some special people in Australia?

  • Reply Link: The Small Seed | Story of Faith: Kurt Henderson | JennySmith.net October 15, 2014 at 11:42 am

    […] Sharon Prescott Haynie: Great story about faith, overcoming obstacles. Which section should I use this in? (18 minutes ago) http://thesmallseed.com/2014/10/story-of-faith-kurt-henderson/ […]

  • Reply John October 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    What does BYU have to play for? 11-2 a bowl win – even if you want to call it a lesser win – Will have us ranked at the start of next season SUPER IMPORTANT. Starting ranked next year for Taysom and the gang is the best way to have a SUPER SEASON.

  • Reply Douglas October 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

    last evening during the cougar walk I watched as you took the time to turn around and along with Mitch recognize my grandson, Jackson Sommers. You both may never understand what such a small act of kindness can mean to one who’s life challenges are real. I watched him for the next hours forgetting all of his cares and focused on cheering for the team. Defeats in sports are disheartening. Last nights loss was a disappointment. As you so eloquently stated it is ” all about becoming “. The pain of a loss will fade. The moments of joy and feelings of importance you and Mitch have given to Jackson will last through eternity. As you face disappointment on the field think of a young boy who fought through being told he would never walk standing in the stadium cheering on his best friends. Thank you so much

  • Reply Nurturing Marriage October 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Great article, Kurt! I really enjoyed hearing your perspective and the lessons learned. Thanks for sharing and good luck the rest of the season!

  • Reply Lana Beck October 26, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Kurt, I always knew that you would become an amazing man because you were an amazing child. I was so blessed to watch you as a child and fabulous student. You were the student that walked in the room and everything lit up. You were the student that thought about the feelings of all those around you. Your talents have only just begun to be developed. Thank you so much for your fine example, the light you share with others and your wit and wisdom. WOW! You have become a great teacher and I have become one of your students. You truly are one in a million. I am so lucky to have shared a part of your life. Love ya tons.

  • Reply Larry Goodwin November 7, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Kurt,
    After reading your story I wasn’t at all surprised that you found out what is really important in life. After our experiences in the 197th ward together I know what a great young man you are and what a wonderful example you are to everyone around you. With all the adversity you continue to face you have always had a positive attitude and a spirit that no matter what you will not be defeated. The strength of your character is something that I have learned to admire about you. Your words and your life are an inspiration to me and my family and you have become a part of my family. Keep your self centered on what is really important and you will be blessed has you have been.

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