Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Take a Knee

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I don’t keep up with middle school football. Who does, right?

But I wish I had been at this game in Olivet, Michigan. I wish I had seen and experienced what I would call the best play of the 2013 football season.

I can’t tell you anything about the team or their record. I don’t know if they are playing for a championship this year or if they are the worst in their league. I don’t even know if they won the game.

But this play might have been one of the best ever in the history of football.


The players came up with the play on their own. They didn’t even tell their coach what they were up to. And many were surprised when the play happened. In fact, some were frustrated and disappointed. In the video, you can actually hear parents groan.

The play was actually 2 plays combined.

The team’s goal was to get the ball as close to the goal line as possible without scoring. As one player ran towards the end zone for what would have been a certain touchdown, he took a knee. He went down on the 1 yard line. On purpose.

He gave up his chance to score. He gave up 6 points. And he set the team up for the play to follow.

This video shows you why.

(If you are unable to play the video, click here to watch it in your browser. Or if videos aren’t your thing, you can read it about it here.)


Somehow, somewhere, this team discovered something bigger than football. They discovered a friend. They discovered sacrificial giving. They discovered what it means to love.

The play was for Keith and about Keith. But the heart of the play was about everyone else learning to give.

Most of us want to be the kid who scores. We want the feeling of being the hero. We want to be cheered. We want to be noticed. We want to be the superstar. We want to be the person carried off the field on the shoulders of our fans.

But when the team let Keith score, they discovered something better than being the hero. They discovered something better than football and touchdowns and wins and championships.

They experienced what it means to give a gift without the other person being able to pay them back.

Instead of choosing to be the hero, they made someone else the hero. And all it took was taking a knee. Taking the back seat. Praising and celebrating someone else.


If this team happens to win a championship, they will celebrate it. They will be given trophies to commemorate their accomplishment. One player might receive a special plaque as the most valuable player on the team.

Trophies will collect dust. Trophies will one day break. Trophies will eventually find themselves in the bottom of a trash pile.

But I wonder if they will ever forget what they did for their friend. I wonder if they will ever stop telling the story of the time they took a knee.

It turns out, it might be better to bet he one carrying someone else off the field.

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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One Reply

  1. This made my day, Jeremy. Thank you.

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