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Throwing Life a Hail Mary

So much in life is about preparation and stepping up when opportunity arises. However, every once in a while you find yourself at a crossroad of preparation and opportunity with few options available and your best chance of triumph is putting faith in the support system around you; in those people you trust to be as passionate about your success as you are. Those people are few, but they are mighty when bringing peace of mind when nothing else has worked. You are throwing life a Hail Mary.

There are times in my life when I turn to my football coach husband, when I NEED TO MAKE THE PLAY otherwise the “game” is over and he’ll say to me in his southern accent, “Throw a Hail Mary.”

The Hail Mary pass came to be in 1975 when Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Roger Staubach said “Hail Mary” as he threw a game-winning 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson in the playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings (yes, I love football). The uniqueness of the Hail Mary is because it is ONLY thrown at end of a half when a team has exhausted every other avenue. The Hail Mary option is rare, but potent. According to Great Big Story, since 1975 there have only been 28 successful Hail Mary passes in the NFL.

This last play of desperation gives a shot of adrenaline like no other because despite the result, an outcome is imminent. Knowing I have people around me whom I can rely on when I step up and chuck the Hail Mary is nerve wracking, but so much fun!

Regardless of the outcome, I know my team will do their best to come up with the ball for me.
Regardless of the outcome, I know we’re all in this together.
Regardless of the outcome, life is so much fun when you’re All In to take that leap of faith and live life large.

In my profession, this mainly comes up in competition when one of our athletes has been sidelined and our coaches and I have to make a choice of who comes in to replace her. The athlete who is rock solid, but won’t score very high or the athlete who hasn’t been able to train much but IF she hits could help us Win. Da da duhhhhhhh… I have incredible and exhilarating memories of being in this situation with Chris Waller, whom I’ve coached with for 14 years. We’re in the middle of the competition needing to give final lineup changes to the judges and we’re going back and forth, weighing the odds of each athlete. It has happened more than once, with time running out one of us goes with our gut and makes the decision and the other always says something like, “I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I have no regrets. We’re playing to WIN.

Your turn. What’s one of your most vivid life Hail Mary’s?

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Rebecca SheppardKelliMiss ValMary Recent comment authors
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I’ve learned a few things here. First of all, what I originally would have classified as Hail Mary moments weren’t because it was just me making a last ditch effort (usually because of my own procrastination or lack of planning). There was no team aspect involved, I wasn’t placing my faith or trust in anyone, including myself. It was more like being out of options (or time) and willing to see what happens. But when I think of a Hail Mary as you described it I realized that my true Hail Mary moments usually involve me decided to open up.… Read more »


One of the more amusing “Hail Mary” moments I’ve experienced came last summer when, ironically, I was working at a faith camp for high school students. Several times each day I led a group of 7 students in 45 minute long conversations about faith. In this particular week, I was having significant trouble getting the students to engage and participate in the conversations, and I was pretty much out of ideas for getting them involved. At the beginning of one of our conversations, we somehow got on the topic of how difficult it is to squat for long periods of… Read more »