In the 1990s, Steve Young rose to fame as the star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Now the Hall of Famer and Super Bowl MVP reflects on the challenges and triumphs of his brilliant 15-year NFL career and reveals the surprising reason he didn’t serve a mission.
THE MISSION QUESTION
The Christmas break gave me time to think about my future. I decided to step away from football and serve a two-year mission. It wasn’t a snap decision. I’d been mulling it over all semester. My father had served a mission after his freshman year at BYU, and I had always aspired to do the same. LaVell’s decision to make me into a defensive back spurred me to go sooner rather than later.
I completed the necessary paperwork and notified my bishop. The plan was set. I would leave in the spring, right after I completed my freshman year.
My parents were pleased. But as soon as I committed, I started to feel anxious. A mission is a great opportunity. But I knew myself too well. There was no way I’d survive being away for two years. The thought of total separation overwhelmed me. I didn’t understand the source of my fears. But I knew they were real.
There’s no way, I told myself. I’ll never make it.
I was barely hanging on at BYU. I was calling home a few times a week. The dresser drawers in my dorm room were empty because I never bothered to unpack for the entire fall semester.
The more I thought about a mission the sicker I became.