Facing the Blitz – Jeff Kemp

Jeff Kemp is no stranger to the blitz. Eight guys bearing in on you, each large and muscle-bound, each intent on putting you on your back. Life’s like that sometimes. The challenges are big and scary. They’re bearing down on you and no receivers are open. Doesn’t seem like there’s a way out. In Facing the Blitz, Jeff Kemp uses his battle-tested quarterbacking techniques in the game of life to teach you how to turn trials into triumphs.

There are so many former NFL players that just fade away. Money’s gone. Influence wanes. Spotlight dims. Only remembered in highlight reels and “Where are they now?” specials. So many players retire with a platform they only leverage for more endorsement deals. Others use their platform and skills to launch them into a whole new career. That’s exactly what Jeff Kemp has done. Facing the Blitz uses football terms and a quarterback’s personal story to launch a powerful discussion of dealing with life’s challenges.

Strategy #1: Take a Long-Term View. As a coach myself (gymnastics, not football), I often point my athletes toward the long-term view. If their goal is fun in the moment, no, the 15 minutes of intense cardio probably isn’t very fulfilling. If their goal is success at the next competition…then the challenge of the now has to be overcome for the success of the future. Within this concept, Kemp develops three key ideas: find opportunity in crisis, let the old dream die, and embrace a bigger vision.

I especially loved the idea of letting the old dream die. It’s not a thing talked about much in a world where “anyone can achieve their dream” is the mantra. But sometimes dreams are just that…they’re idealisms that may not reflect the full glory of the plan of life that God has set before us. Kemp talks about the issue from his own personal experience as a primarily second-string quarterback. He handles the issue with grace and humility in an insightful and profound way.

Strategy #2: Be Willing to Change. My key takeaway from this section was to be an investor, not a consumer. Find people to mentor, know when to begin letting the younger generation take over. Give more than you got. Even if you’ve lived the dream, you shouldn’t live it forever. Your dream should change and God should take you on a new life journey.

Strategy #3: Reach Out to Others. This section was all about leaving a legacy: with your peers, with your vocation, with your family. In many ways, it’s an extension of the “be an investor” principle. Kemp outlines several helpful hints and strategies to make the most of the challenges life throws.

I love a good football story. I love getting behind the scenes of the game and learning from the players. That’s exactly what you get in Facing the Blitz. But you also get solid, foundational teaching about overcoming challenges and adversity, dealing with disappointment and frustrations, and responsibly handling success. Whether you’re a football fan or not, you’ll certainly enjoy Kemp’s playbook for success.


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Author: Josh Olds

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