By David Sedeño
The Texas Catholic
If it’s Career Day and your school is fortunate enough to snag Hall of Fame Quarterback Roger Staubach you’d probably expect him to talk about his Heisman Trophy, the “Hail Mary Pass” and Super Bowl championships, his gridiron names and the lucrative real estate business that he built.
Don’t be too surprised if he spends most of his time talking about a balance in life, perseverance and resiliency, Catholic faith, doing for others as much as for yourself and telling your parents that you love them.
Staubach joined clergy, women religious, doctors, lawyers, Secret Service agents and business people who spoke to students at Christ the King Catholic School’s Career Day on April 18.
“I am still working hard. I’m still persevering,” Staubach said in the keynote address. “There is always something that comes up that you have to deal with, those challenges that you have, and it is a constant process that you have to keep your life in balance.”
Staubach acknowledged that the students—classmates of some of his and wife Marianne’s grandchildren—might not know who he is.
“I used to have Tony Romo’s job,” he said. “He gets paid a little bit more than I did back then. If you know him, you might remember Troy Aikiman. I go back a little farther.”
He talked to the students about growing up as a single child in Cincinnati, about football, the Navy, the Dallas Cowboys, his real estate business and about his parents, coaches and mentors who helped him along the way. He also talked about the grounding of his Catholic faith that began much like theirs—in a Catholic school.
“The first thing that you have to do in life is that you have to work hard,” he said. “The education that you are getting is going to allow you to have success in the future, as long as you understand that it takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to get spectacular results. You just have to work hard.”
And he told the students to be prepared for the unexpected.
“Life has its twists and turns,” he said. “The important thing is having the perseverance to maintain your faith and do the right things as you deal with the obstacles. There will be challenges that you will face, but you are going to help each other and you are going to get through it and people are going to help you.”
He said that part of the balance in life is trying to put himself in other people’s shoes and to treat people with kindness and respect.
“The most important thing you can do is making sure about your thoughts, what you are thinking, what you are doing and how it is affecting the person sitting next to you and how are you making them happy,” he said. “There is a respect that you have to have for each other and as you grow it is important to get the balance of what is important for you and what is important for someone else.”
Staubach also talked about the importance of family.
“When you get home tonight, tell your parents you love them,” he said. “When you talk about getting your life in balance you know you have your friends and you are going to do things with them, but your mom and dad, their whole life is wrapped around you. When you get home tonight tell them you love them.”
Turning to football, he retold the story about the 1975 come-from-behind playoff victory at Minnesota in which the “Hail Mary Pass” was coined. Near the end of the game, with the Cowboys trailing 14-10, Staubach, known as “Captain Comeback,” told teammate Drew Pearson to basically go long. From the shotgun formation, Staubach pumped left and then threw to Pearson. Staubach, who got knocked down, realized that the Viking fans were silent.
Pearson caught the ball in that famous play and the Cowboys went on to win 17-14. In the locker room, reporters asked what he was thinking when he threw that pass and Staubach said that he had thrown the ball and said a “Hail Mary.”
“I could have said the ‘Our Father’ or ‘The Glory Be.’ It could be the ‘Glory Be Pass,’ ” Staubach chuckled. “It became a term the NFL recognized. The Blessed Virgin is very proud of me. We have a great relationship because of that.”
And true to his other nickname, Staubach dodged a direct answer when asked to identify his favorite teammate. He said he was fortunate to play with many of them from two Super Bowl teams—Bob Lilly, Bob Hayes, Lee Roy Jordan, Chuck Howley and Drew Pearson, Tony Hill and Tony Dorsett—that he couldn’t name just one.
Before he left and signed a few autographs, Staubach reaffirmed his main points, which had little to do with football.
“It is an honor to be able to have a few moments with you and let you know how important you are to your parents and to your friends,” he said. “You should like each other and care for each other and work hard in school because that is the foundation that you will need for the rest of your life.”