Center Grove Football

Jake Duke

Monday, September 3, 2013

The mornings were hard. A tired body mixed with an empty stomach, quickly approached by workouts that were classified tougher than the military’s basic training were not considered fun.  I can’t remember one time that I didn’t try to talk myself out of going and have many reasons to justify my excuses. This truly was a morning ritual in the summertime in high school, minus the glorious Wednesday mornings. Without an understanding of the end-goal in mind, this routine not only would be considered absurd, but impossible.

To date, I have only lived 25 years on this earth, and I have yet to meet anyone who looked me in the face and tell me, “Jake, you know what, I hope I fail in life. I hope I am never successful.” I believe it is hard-wired in our DNA to want to become something, to do something special and to feel a belonging to something greater than our own selves. Everyone wants to have success, to achieve something great, but not everyone wants to put the work in to get to that destination. For this, I am thankful for my dad, Mike. I grew up on a farm on the south side of the school, and from an early age was taught hard work. Even in elementary school, I had to wake up before school started, even in the dead of winter to go out and feed the steers and take care of them. One thing my dad always told me was to, “Get wisdom,” which is the heartbeat of his favorite book, the book of Proverbs. In the 13th chapter it says, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Many have great intentions, and filled with many words and ideas, but few will follow through. My father rooted into me from an early age not to quit, but to finish strong everything you start – and to give it your best, just like you were doing it to serve God, not to do anything half-hearted. His favorite verse was 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This verse changed the way I viewed life, it changed my perspective and attitude that I took to the football field every morning. I realized I was able to worship my King every morning simply by giving my best effort, every time. Perspective is everything.

One thing I have learned over the years is that hard and difficult doesn’t mean bad, it just means hard and difficult. The attitude in which we take in to every situation, whether on the job, on a writing assignment, in relationship, or on the field will help us finish with excellence or fall short in self-pity and complaining. Today I am the vice-president of Duke Homes new division, Duke Church Builders, helping local churches with new visions of growth as they are pursuing reaching people who haven’t heard of the Gospel of Jesus. Along with Duke Church Builders, I am also on the Board of Directors of a national non-profit called The Rose Initiative. I can honestly say there have been many times I have wanted to quit because “it was too hard,” or “I no longer have any time,” and I think back to my dad and to Center Grove Football. Those who move forward and make a difference in this world are the ones who don’t feel entitled and who don’t stop when they hit a wall, but when they hit the wall to work extra hard, who pray and ask for strength when they have none, and who are humble enough to know that they can’t do it alone and work together. Coach Moore’s motto of “Hard Work x Dedication = Success” is not mere talk, but a life truth, that when taken seriously can reap great rewards. Keep fighting.

Jake Duke
Class of 2007

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