Thursday, November 03, 2005

One Man: Doing His Part... East Texas Baptist University

By Michael Stephens ETBU Sports Information Intern
MARSHALL, Texas -- Invincible is the word that Micah Huckaby used to describe himself prior to Aug. 14th, 2004, a day that would change his life forever.
Prior to that day, Huckaby was seemingly indestructible; at least that is how he was seen in the eyes of his teammates on the East Texas Baptist University football team. He had built an impressive career with the Tigers on that persona –a legal, hard-hitting knockout blow on an opposing player that left an entire stadium silent in 2003, the countless amount of weight he put up in the weight room, the chiseled frame on a 5-9, 200-pound body that used to play safety at Hallsville High School.
On Aug. 14, 2004, Huckaby was coming off of an All-American Southwest Conference season in 2003 and was expected to take over leadership duties on a defending conference champion Tiger football team. Life seemed to be treating Huckaby fairly well, yes; the 2004 season was supposed to be his season to make an even greater impact as he “trained hard that summer”, and “was bigger, faster, and stronger” than he had ever been before.
Then came Aug. 14, 2004.
Huckaby headed in to report for fall two-a-day practices, fully expecting to continue his dominance on the field. On Highway 80, a stretch of state highway that connects Marshall with his hometown of Hallsville not 10 minutes away, the man they simply call “Huck” at ETBU was about to have his life change forever.
About halfway between Marshall and Hallsville, Huckaby’s truck collided head-on with another vehicle, an accident that instantly killed the other driver, a young mother whose infant child was also in the vehicle. Huckaby himself ended up thrown from his truck and landed on the pavement, surviving the crash with knee and shoulder injuries which still give him trouble today.
The accident forced Huckaby to miss the entire 2004 season as he recovered from his physical injuries, which were a piece of cake compared to the emotional scars from that day – Aug. 14, 2004.
For many, having something like this happen would only conjure up the inevitable questions. As he began to work through the questions, however, Huckaby turned a negative situation into as much a positive as he could. At a point where the easy thing to do was to give up, Huckaby realized that the situation was about something more than himself, and it was something that he had to face up to as he met the husband of the departed woman in the vehicle.
“I was nervous at first, but when I met him, at the funeral he spoke to me,” Huckaby recalls today. “He hugged me and said that ‘if the death of my wife changed (strengthened) your relationship with Christ, then she didn’t die in vain.
“I always active in church, but I did not believe that I had done anything special for the Lord to allow me to live in an accident where the other driver was killed. What had I done that was so special that the Lord would spare me?”
It was not what Huckaby had done that allowed him to live, but what he was about to do in his journey forward toward an understanding that he was not “invincible, but a human being that could be broken,” he says.
“The accident opened my eyes to the love of Jesus Christ,” Huckaby said. “The Lord uses me, football and my experience to help change people’s lives through my story.
Helping change the lives of other people is something that Huckaby is trying to do these days as he has delivered his story as a testimony of the love of Jesus Christ to numerous audiences, including the ETBU Baptist Student Ministry, the Jefferson (Texas) High football team, and ETBU alumni to name a few.
Huckaby also found a way to use football in a bigger way than normal in his testimony this past summer, traveling overseas to the Czech Republic to minister to young children. In an opportunity created by ex-assistant ETBU football coach Jari Kinnunen, Huckaby along with defensive end Chad Glover went over to play an exhibition game, and share the love of Jesus Christ in that country.
Faith is the word that Micah Huckaby uses to describe himself in the days after Aug. 14, 2004.
“Before I believed that I could go through anything, now I know that God will carry me through everything,” he said. “Before, I believed that I could train and rely on myself for many things. Now I know to rely on Him and not myself.”
Now Huckaby knows that he cannot be invincible, but he can be all he can be through faith which is the new word that he uses to describe himself.
“I’m only one man, I can only do my part,” Huckaby said. “I only know one way on the football field, and that is all out. I want to live my life for the Lord in the same way.”
It seems like all out is the only way he knows about his relationship with Jesus Christ. Through it all, Micah Huckaby shows it is possible to turn a negative in one’s personal life to a positive, in one’s personal faith.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31