I’m so thankful for how last season turned out! No, we didn’t make it to the playoffs and we had a bunch of injuries on the team, but we were able to set multiple franchise records and I was able to personally break some records. I don’t want to be a headcase, and I don’t pride myself on these things, but I definitely want to use this momentum and build on it for next season.
This offseason I read a book called “One Thing” by Gary Keller. The author encourages the reader to pick one thing to focus on that will lead to extraordinary results in every area of life. I don’t want to change anything in my career, but I want to improve. I make it my aim to improve my game during every offseason. I want to be a player who not only increases their game, but also is one whose teammates can rely on at all times. I’m the punter — the guy who gives the other team the ball. If I can do something great while I’m out there, it’s very rewarding!
There have been a few great punters whom I really look up to in this game. Thomas Morstead, the punter for the Saints, is one of those elite punters. Another one I’ve been able to become good friends with and play against a few times is Johnny Hekker, the punter for the L.A. Rams. When Johnny steps onto the field, the other team never knows what he’s going to do. He’s different in that way. Most punters are like baseball pitchers, you know their personal style and play, but not Johnny. This is what I want my strategy to be as well — unpredictable.
Adopting this technique was a huge part of me setting records this past season. This year, we set a new franchise record for net punting. Anytime you punt over 40 yards, that’s great. We averaged a 41.5-yard punt, breaking our team record and becoming a career best for me! I also was able to land more than 50 percent (41) of my punts inside the 20-yard line. On top of that, I had zero touchbacks! With all of these stats I was able to become the all-time franchise leader for punts inside the 20. Now, hopefully some young hotshot doesn’t come along anytime soon and take that from me.
But all of this isn’t how I want to be remembered by my teammates. An interaction with our long snapper, Nick Sundberg, reflected just how I want to be as a man on and off the field. Nick and I are close; we spend the majority of our time together. He recently had back surgery and began a long journey of recovery. I shot Nick a text to let him know I was praying for him. He texted me back congratulating me on a great personal season and then really encouraged me by saying he’d never seen a leg like mine. But even more encouragingly, he said he’d never had a teammate like me — that my consistent positivity and good attitude is inspiring.
At the end of the day, when my time on this earth is done, I really hope my wife, kids, teammates, friends and family know I’m their fan. I want to be a guy you want to have around. We have so much to be thankful for! One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 1:8 which says, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, there is no reason to not have joy. There will be tough times, and many things that are out of our control, but we can always control our joy because we are hooked up with Christ.
I didn’t always have this mindset, but since coming to know Christ, I realized just how much I have to be thankful for. I want to live a life of gratitude. Many call this, “happy-go-lucky,” but I call it Christ in me.
— Tress Way, Washington Redskins punter
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