He stands 6′-11″, weighs 211 pounds and wears number 7, but Billy Cundiff’s luck ran out on Sunday. During the season he scored 84 points and was accurate 76% of the time, but his missed field goal attempt led, in part, to the Raven’s loss.
Even though Cundiff is the 4th best kicker in the NFL, he will be remembered more for the kick he missed than for the 28 he made. Like an elephant, Cundiff will never forget, and this will weigh on him just as heavily.
Fans were outraged because Cundiff missed the kick. At the time, few people were aware of a scorekeeper’s mishap that altered his preparation.
Cundiff, like most kickers has a well-ordered sideline sequence that prepares him for his on-field performance. He uses the down and distance information on the scoreboard to walk him through his routine. On Sunday, Cundiff worked through his first-down prep and checked the scoreboard. Then he went through his second down prep and looked at the scoreboard.
Suddenly there was confusion on the sidelines. Coaches were shouting “field goal,” but Cundiff still thought it was 3rd down. The scorekeeper had failed to advance the scoreboard stats, and it indicated 3rd down when it was 4th down. Cundiff was forced to break his routine, rush on the field, and he missed the uprights.
Cundiff illlustrates the need for a healthy routine and what happens when we break it. A mentor of mine, Raymond Barber, told me that, You don’t lose your religion in a blowout. You lose it in a small leak.
Small changes go unnoticed until the cumulative effect is felt. A person can benefit from a disciplined life or suffer the consequences of neglect.
A disciplined routine prepared Samuel Grady for the 1984 Olympics where he won a gold medal in track and field. Grady has said, All through my professional and amateur career, I worked a little harder and trained a little extra. I was the first one at practice and the last to leave.
Let me share a definition of discipline: Doing the things that need to be done even when you don’t feel like doing them. Whenever you’re doing the things that need to get done, keep the words of Solomon in mind, Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might (Eccl. 9:10).
I hope this thought keeps you thinking.