What You’ll Learn…
- About former Seattle Seahawks long-snapper Clint Gresham’s time in the NFL, including his experience in the Super Bowl.
- Gresham’s opinions on the coaching style of Pete Carroll and how it assisted in shaping his current beliefs.
- Gresham’s personal philosophy and how it has helped him deal with rejection.
- His opinions on the NFL as a whole, including its spread of a “football is family” mentality and the recent national anthem protests.
- Gresham’s discovery of God’s truth, some fun facts, and his biggest hope and fear for the future of Seattle.
A self-titled “recovering perfectionist,” Clint Gresham has had quite the journey to where he is today. A former long-snapper for the Seattle Seahawks, Gresham was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas and signed with the New Orleans Saints right out of college. His football career eventually led him to the Seahawks, where he had the opportunity to be part of some of the best years in the team’s history.
The year the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl, Gresham and the rest of the team worked on a video project called “Making of a Champion: Seattle Seahawks.” Its focus was to encourage the idea of being a champion on and off the field and it helped Gresham form his belief that one must have an identity that is based on more than what he or she finds significance in (for once that thing is gone, what’s left of your identity?). This video and the coinciding world championship solidified Gresham’s idea that “when you do the right thing, good things come to you.”
Gresham’s personal experience in the NFL and Super Bowl are not what one would expect from watching the games on television. For him, the dream of winning the Super Bowl was like the dream of having a condo on the moon; he never imagined he would actually have the opportunity in his lifetime. He describes that, surprisingly, the game itself is underwhelming. There are so many celebrities and everything is just so produced that it doesn’t seem to match all of the insanity that leads up to it.
This isn’t the first time Gresham has (for lack of a better term) “burst the bubble” of our perception of the NFL. After being fired from the Seahawks by John Schneider, Gresham took to his blog and discusses here his opinion of the NFL’s dangerous “football is family” mentality. Apparently, the NFL likes to foster among its employees that idea that the company is a family, which inherently causes players to begin to identify solely as members of this “family.” When Gresham was fired, he felt incredibly hurt and confused; why would a family just kick one of its members out all of a sudden?
Gresham notes that to compare a company whose main goal is to make income to a family whose main goal is unconditional love is wrong and that a family who grades your performance and kicks you out when you’re not up to par is abusive. While Gresham does think of his fellow teammates as friends and brothers, he feels it is necessary for players to know that the NFL is first and foremost a business, which is not something you should place your personal value in.
These ideas of value and identity that Gresham now hold dear were very much influenced by his personal experience being coached under the Seahawks’ own Pete Carroll. Gresham notes Carroll’s constant positivity and how it taught him that life and death are in the power of our tongues; the way we talk about something is either going to breathe life or death into it, so why not breathe life?
Gresham’s own philosophy is all about breathing life. He notes that 80% of our daily thoughts are negative and if we can practice mindfulness, step back emotionally from our negative thoughts, and get rid of the medicators in our lives, we can begin to heal and see every storm that comes our way as an opportunity to grow instead of a guarantee for pain. Gresham spends 45 minutes everyday going through his affirmation cards, Bible, and praying, disciplining his mind to quiet the darkness and embrace the light. His book, Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness, outlines the process to “wholeness” and learning to deny the false fathers in our lives so we may reach a place of better understanding with our identities.
This false father ideal also plays into his religious beliefs. Growing up, Gresham knew God as an angry man bent on doing harm, but upon his own seeking, learned that God is actually a loving father. This discovery of God’s unconditional love has now made him less apt to feel the need to perform in front of others, for “we only change in the presence of unconditional love.”
This unconditional love ideal also plays into his thoughts on the current national anthem protests spreading through the NFL. While he first felt offended by the protests, he now has come to understand the other side and truly believes that the protests would stop if more people could learn how to empathize with the pain of the players. Disqualifying their feelings and beliefs based on their current position in society is both ignorant and offensive.
Gresham has nothing but love for the city of Seattle. He mentions that his time there was some of the best years of his life and his biggest wish is that Seattle remains true to its vibrant identity. With so many artists and innovators arriving each day, Gresham hopes that Seattle remains a welcoming place, inviting and accepting of all who are true to themselves.
Gresham’s book, Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness, is available now and if you visit Rise Seattle’s Facebook page and share the post for this episode, you will have a chance to win a copy for yourself.
About the Interviewee
Clint Gresham is a former long-snapper for the Seattle Seahawks and author of Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness. He is from Corpus Christi, Texas and graduated from Texas Christian University. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife. He is a life lover, former punk band drummer, recovering perfectionist, avid Christian, ENFJ, and once made Will Farrell laugh. You can learn more about Gresham at ClintGresham.com.