After he tore all three ligaments in his knee, he thought his dream of future glory on the gridiron was over. Then God met him in a surprising way that changed the course of his life.
From the start — before he drew his first breath – tragedy struck. “I never had a single moment with my father,” says Ed Tandy McGlasson, the former NFL offensive lineman who played for the Rams, Jets, and Giants. He is the founding pastor of the Stadium Vineyard inAnaheim,California.
Ed’s mother was eight months pregnant with him when a terrible accident brought heartbreak. “My father was a test pilot,” he says. “He was killed at 400 miles per hour.” The night before it happened, his mother had a premonition of disaster.
“Am I going to lose you?” she asked her husband. On that last night, Ed’s dad read the story of Jesus walking on the water toward the boat filled with his disciples. As he read, something caused him to circle the word “Come,” the invitation to Peter to walk by faith across the water toward Jesus.
“The next morning he crashed in the sea,” Ed says sadly.
Later Ed’s mother remarried a submarine commander. “He was a hard man whose father tried to beat the weakness out of him,” Ed recalls.
In his youth, Ed strove to live up to the image of his deceased father. “Everything I did was about securing and proving myself to the heroic dad I never saw,” he notes. “I pushed myself to the ‘nth’ degree.”
Walk-on at Youngstown State
Without sufficient funds for college, Ed tried to walk on theYoungstownStatefootball team. “We don’t have any scholarship money to give you,” Coach Bill Narduzzi told him.
Ed had a bold idea. “Coach, if I’m not the best football player you’ve ever seen in the next 10 days, don’t give me a scholarship, but if I am…”
“Son, if you’re that good I’ll mortgage my house to get you a scholarship,” Narduzzi replied.
For the next 10 days, Ed says he played like Dick Butkus, the Chicago Bears all-time great. Every drill was played at 110 percent.
After watching the display, Narduzzi approached him and put his arm on his shoulder pad. “Son, I don’t know where we’re getting the money, but consider yourself on a full ride at Youngstown State.”
Ed could hardly contain his glee, and began to nurture his dreams of playing one day in the NFL. But a serious injury threatened to derail his plans. One day at practice, there was a “freak” fumble on the ground.
“A freshman dove through my left knee to get the fumble,” Ed recalls. As Ed collapsed he heard his knee ligaments rip. “It was an unbelievable sound in my head.”
Doctors told him all three major ligaments were torn and he would probably not play football again. He needed major reconstructive surgery the next morning.
Ed went back to his dorm room with an ice pack. “To say I was devastated would be an understatement,” he says. “Everything I worked for was gone. I didn’t know what to do.”
Then came a knock on his door. A young man named Bill Romanowski (no relation to the football player) entered the room, surveyed Ed’s sorry condition and said, “Hi Ed, I’m the campus pastor here.”
While Ed’s grandmother was a Christian Scientist, Ed had no interest or previous involvement in religion.
They exchanged a few pleasantries, then Romanowksi said, “Ed, you have a lot of things going for you, but you lack one thing.”