Penn State coach James Franklin is known for having motivational speakers address his team. Last Friday, the Nittany Lions were left spellbound by a former NFL player who took over the microphone in the squad room at Lasch Building.
You see, this was not just any former NFL player. It was Tim Shaw, the former Penn State linebacker/defensive end whose seven-year pro career came to an end when he was diagnosed with ALS three years ago.
Since then, the disease has taken a toll on Shaw’s body. But he has continued to travel the world with the idea of living his life to the fullest and helping others. He has also written a book, “Blitz Your Life,” which is available on Amazon.
Though his speech has been impacted by ALS, Shaw’s message to the Nittany Lions was clear and powerful.
About three years ago, I was given a diagnosis. With that diagnosis, I was given a gift. I was given the gift of perspective. Today I want to share a little bit of that perspective with you.
You see, the game of football is best played when it is respected like today could be our last day playing. The game of football is meant to be played 100 percent committed.
That’s what I decided to do with my life. The game is made to be played with heart, men, and that’s the way life it meant to be lived. Because the last thing you want, is to have a regret about not giving everything you had.
I am proud to be a Penn Stater. I’m proud of what you all are doing. I urge you — every single day, man, every single day — 100 percent.
As you can see in the video below, the PSU players were clearly dialed in on Shaw’s message
And they were not the only ones. After Saturday’s Blue-White Game, Franklin had the following to say.
Tim Shaw came and spoke to our team yesterday, and it may be one of the greatest, most powerful speeches I’ve ever heard. As a father, my daughters will see this — we videotaped it — and as a coach it’s the message you want your team to hear. Really, his message was about that the disease that he’s fighting (ALS) was a gift that he’s been given – that he’s been given a gift of perspective and the perspective is that you live life the way you’re supposed to play the game of football – as if every play could be your last and you should live that way. It was an unbelievable message to our team, and that to me is what we need to do in life, in the classroom, whether you’re at home. It challenged me to be a better father. When I’m with my wife and my kids, it pushes me to be a better father. I think it’s a great message, just to be present and be the best that you can possibly be in everything you do and that’s still where we need to go. We’ll probably be searching for that goal probably the rest of our lives, but I still think we can get closer to it.
Tim Shaw wrote an occasional column for FOS called “Special Delivery” during his days in the NFL.