I’m jotting this down at 38,000 feet above the Caribbean Sea after staring at a blank cursor for most of take off. As I depart Costa Rica heading back to the states, I can’t help but reminisce on what I saw… the diversity in culture yet similarity in humanity.
One tends to compel pure moments of thought and reflection after an impactful, humanistic experience as I did.
After returning to his home in Tempe, Arizona from a mission trip to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico in April, Nathan Clayton shared my testaments.
“Forty members of our church, Mountain Park Community, were able to go to Mexico with an organization called 1Mission. Over the span of two and a half days, all forty of us built two houses for two families in desperate need of them. It was really fun to help out those less fortunate. It may have been a weekend for us, but for the people we built the houses for, it changed their lives.”
Nathan is a soon to be 16 year old attending Tempe High School where he plays quarterback. He is a bright student and a young man of faith and benevolence who happens to be able to out-throw every defensive coverage you chuck at him. Nathan is striving to attend and graduate college from a “highly regarded institution, like Stanford University,” he said.
After watching the first throw on his highlight tape, Stanford may not be good enough for him. “In football, my goal is to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. In life, I want to use my success as a platform to help the less fortunate and to bring glory to God,” he told me. Heck, even the Peace Corp may take a back seat to this kid.
Regardless of stature, his touchdown to interception ratio, or QBR, Nathan is a solid young man. He trains with private quarterback coach, Dennis Gile to intensely fine-tune his craft of quarterbacking.
“I spend an average of 20 hours a week practicing/playing/training for football, between QB sessions, speed training, weight lifting, virtual-reality training to speed up reads and reading various books to improve the mental side of my game,” he said.
You’ve already seen what a humanitarian he is. Ok, so, a philanthropist, a quarterback, and an exceptionally bright student. One way or another, Nathan will have an affirmative impact in the future. Maybe as an NFL quarterback, a community leader, or a legendary scholar, or perhaps all three.
Bookmark is Hudl link so you remember him. Then, just sit back and wait for his life highlight reel to unfold.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.”
What class/grade are you in?
Class of 2019
What school do you attend and in what city?
I attend Tempe High School in Tempe, Arizona
What are your short-term goals regarding football, school, and life?
My goal regarding football is to be one of the best quarterbacks in my class/get a Division 1 Football scholarship. In school, I want to graduate with at least a 3.5+ GPA, and in life I want to make life-long friends and I want my life to be a positive example to them and others.
What are your long-term goals regarding football, school, and life?
In football, my goal is to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. My goal for school is to graduate college summa/magna cum laude from a highly regarded institution like Stanford. In life, I want to use my success as a platform to help the less fortunate and to bring glory to God.
What level do you play at? (High School: Freshman or JV or Varsity/College: NCAA Div. 1 etc.)
I play Junior Varsity
How old are you?
I am 15 years old (will be 16 in July)
How long have you been playing football (years)?
I have been playing football for 10 years
How long have you been playing the quarterback position?
I have been a quarterback for 6 years
How much time (hours per week) do you spend practicing, playing, or training for football?
I spend an average of 20 hours a week practicing/playing/training for football between QB coach sessions, speed training, weight lifting, virtual-reality training to speed up reads and reading various books to improve the mental side of my game.
Why do you play the game?
I play the game because I love it. When I was six, I saw my first NFL game, and I knew I wanted to play the game professionally. Football is my passion.
In your opinion, why is the quarterback position critical to a football team?
I think that the quarterback is critical to a football team because we touch the ball EVERY single offensive play (except kicking plays), and so it’s our priority to be locked in and focused because making a mistake can cost our team the game. A great QB has to know the responsibilities of every offensive player in order to ensure they are in the correct position, as well as know all the defensive schemes and coverages in order to attack their weaknesses. The QB is also the leader of the offense and often the entire team.
Do you play/participate in any other sports?
I play basketball.
Do you train with a quarterback coach? If so, who?
I train with Dennis Gile because he’s the best QB coach, and I want to be the best.