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Nick Monaghan, Mizzou Football

by carmine on September 26, 2014

Growing up I would go to church with my family, but I would say I never really felt like I knew who The Lord was. As a kid I just did what my parents told me to do. In fact, going to church was something I really did not like to do at all. I would much rather be hanging out with my friends or playing sports. Even through high school, getting into my faith was something that was not even close to being a top priority to me. I was far more concerned with playing football and track as well as balancing academ

Nick Monaghan 2ics and friends. I had climbed through the ranks in high school as a long snapper starting out at 46th in the country and eventually ending up at 16th in the country on Chris Rubio Long Snapping’s rankings. I had a decision to make as to where I was going to go to college. After a lot of thought, I chose Western Michigan University.

After a rough start in camp, I quickly had to adjust to the speed, time management, and the workload of being a collegiate athlete at the Division I level. I was not snapping as well as I had been in high school because I felt like I was all alone out there on the field. I was a small freshman and didn’t have many friends on the team. To top it all off, I was a walk-on, so I still had to worry about paying for college as well as being a full time athlete. Not to mention practice was something that I had dreaded going to every day. There was a linebacker at Western Michigan named Mitch Zajac, who would at the end of practice on Wednesday tell us that if we wanted to at night they were going to have a FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) meeting to learn about The Lord and have fellowship with different athletes. I had never heard of FCA before in my life, or this idea of getting to know The Lord. The notion of having a relationship with God was something that was completely foreign.

After two weeks of Mitch inviting the team after practice to FCA I had finally come up with an idea. If I went to FCA I would become friends with Mitch and I would be able to have more friends on the team as opposed to being a lonely freshman long snapper. I went to FCA that night to show him that I was cool for going and being associated with him, but instead I would end up finding another man in my life that I would want to get to know better. God. I’ll never forget that night, I learned about the Armor of God; I learned about the breastplate of righteousness and the shield of faith. I was completely intrigued and I found myself wanting to learn more.

After a few weeks of going to FCA I started to fall in love with The Lord and learn more and more about Him and myself that I never knew before. Things at Western Michigan were not working out as planned and I had decided to transfer to be with my brother, Mike, at The University of Missouri. I wanted to play football at Mizzou more than anything because that meant that I could play football at a high level and be with my twin brother who I had never before been separated from. The problem was I was never recruited to play football at The University of Missouri out of high school. I had no way to contact the coaches or get my way on to the team.

I transferred after my first semester at Western Michigan to a community college in Columbia, Missouri. I knew I wanted to live in Columbia because Mike and I had already left home in Chicago, and I wanted to finally be back with him. Not being a student at Mizzou, I couldn’t live in a dorm and most of the nice apartments were way too expensive for me to live in. So I wound up renting a one-bedroom apartment about 5 minutes away from the housing projects of Columbia. I was scared, I was living alone on the rougher part of town and still had no way to get onto the Mizzou football team. I had just left everything I had known and the comfort of being in a university and on a Division I football team for the chance to maybe be on Mizzou’s football team. I also lacked a crucial key to playing football here at Mizzou…a plan.

To make matters worse, I was running out of money. Because I was at a community college, my loan on

Nick Monaghan 1

barely covered my tuition and not my living expenses such as my apartment, food, and utilities. I was applying for jobs all over Columbia only to hear that they were not hiring or they had just filled the position. LITERALLY! Everywhere I went I got denied. I remember thinking to myself, “I put my trust in The Lord and I am drowning in my decision.” I had no way to get a hold of the coaches, I had just left a great position to play college football at and, to top it all off, I was running out of funds. It was beginning to look like the end was near and I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. There were days where I was completely down and out.

Being in FCA at WMU I learned to put all my trust in The Lord in times like this, so I continued to pray even though, to be honest, sometimes I felt like I was just speaking out into nothing. There were many of nights where I would call home to my mom and dad in a panic attack wondering what the heck was I doing, why I had left and if this was even going to work out. I had not even told my friends back home that I had left WMU in fear of them thinking I was a failure there. Continuing to pray, I finally got a call about a month after I applied to Dick’s Sporting Goods and was originally denied. They told me a spot finally opened up and asked if I wanted to interview with them. OF COURSE! I wound up getting the job and was finally starting to see an income so I could afford some of my living expenses!

I continued to pray every night to The Lord about playing football at Mizzou, then one night in February 2012 I had gotten a completely random text from Chris Rubio of Chris Rubio Long Snapping telling me information about a past training session when I was back in high school I had done with another instructor. I was feeling it was The Lord tell me that it was about time to tell someone that I had left. I broke down and told Rubio that I had left Western Michigan about 3 months ago and was too afraid to tell him until I somehow figured out a way to get onto Mizzou’s football team. He immediately calmed me down and said “Why didn’t you tell me a while ago? Things happen in college football and sometimes it doesn’t work out, it’s alright.” I began telling him that I wanted to play football at Missouri so I could be with my brother and play football at a high level. I will never forget what Rubio said next; in his calm cool Rubio voice he said, “Oh is (Josh) Henson still a coach at Missouri? He does the snapping right?” To which I replied “I don’t know I had never talked to Missouri before.” Then he says “Alright I know Henson is the coach, I’ll call him tomorrow and set up a meeting for you to.”

The very next day I got a call from Rubio about how he had talked to Coach Henson and that he was willing to take me on the football team in the Fall, all I had to do was go over to his office and talk to him. I was freaking out! I began to thank The Lord for providing a way not only for getting a job and can finally pay for things but to FINALLY be on the Missouri football team! It was like everything was happening at once I couldn’t believe it. I remember calling home and the excitement of my parents when I had told them that Rubio had set up a meeting with Coach Henson and that coach was more than willing to take me on. It was one of the best days of my life. I was down to dire straights and The Lord came through for me.

Since then I have met some incredible people and an awesome mentor, Nathan Buxman, who has helped me with my walk with The Lord. I also have had a great community with the Mizzou FCA, that keeps me encouraged and keeping my eyes on Him. Entering my third season as a Missouri Tiger it has been one wild ride, going from a 5-7 season in 2012 to an incredible 2013 12-2 season as SEC East Champions as well as 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Champions. Through my sport I have been able to meet Christian athletes from all over the country, always competing in the spirit of The Glory of God. It never ceases to amaze me what The Lord has provided in my life. Even at times when you feel down and completely out The Lord is always up to something and is using you for His glory. I am reminded by Psalms 37:4 which says “Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart.” It is a verse that over the past couple of years I have remembered whenever I question if He will provide, to which I am sure He is just laughing up there smiling saying “Yeah bud, just a second, I need you to grow through this experience a little more!” Thanks for your time! Have a blessed day!

 

  • Nick Monaghan

MIZZOU Football #54

 

 

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