BYU running backs coach Reno Mahe and his wife Sunny joined Advancement Vice President Matthew O. Richardson for a fireside on faith, family, and football held at the BYU-Hawaii Cannon Activities Center on Sunday, Nov. 26.
“It was just really wonderful to have them here,” said Jordin Manco, a junior from North Carolina studying exercise and sports science. “What stood out to me most was probably to have a positive attitude through trials and just remember that the Lord is always there. We’re all going to be losers at some point but in the end we’re all winners of eternal life.”
Richardson began his talk by joking how he loves when people clap before knowing what’s going to happen after someone is introduced. “I love it when people clap before you even do anything special. But then I started thinking, that’s really the essence of what faith is all about.”
He went on to talk about a talk he heard 21 years ago given by President Henry B. Eyring to a group of newly-hired faculty at BYU.
“I remember trying to soak everything in and at one point, he was talking and I remember he had his arms crossed and his finger up to his lip. All of a sudden, he said, ‘Ya know, I do not know what faith is,’ and then I remember he paused for what seemed like quite a while.
Richardson jokingly admitted he thought of a number of scriptures he could have pulled up in that moment to help President Eyring out, but he stayed quiet. “And then he said, ‘But I do know what faith looks like. Faith looks like those who give their all to their God without knowing what ‘all’ is.’ That was forever recorded on my heart and mind.”
The Mahes shared personal thoughts and feelings on their three-year-old daughter who passed away last year. Reno, a fromer Philadelphia Eagles running back, said, “We learned so much of the Lord’s mercy and the plan that is set forth that families can be together forever.”
Sunny, a former All-American volleyball player at BYU, said, “While her mission was much shorter than we would have hoped, we felt that confirmation that it was finished. So what about the rest of those who are still here? I thought of three specific things that pretty much all center around the plan of salvation: remember who you were, remember who you are, and remember who you will be.
“If we really knew who we were, how would that affect the way we treat each other? How would that change the way that we treat ourselves? I know that there are a great many heartbreaking trials in this life, but I know just as surely that we were never meant to stay here forever.”
Reno Mahe started off his talk by giving examples from his life of trials that he’s faced in football that turned into life lessons and blessings from the Lord. He explained how he was injured the first day of the season his 8th grade year and was out the whole season, and his high school senior team lost their championship game.
“The rest I got from my 8th grade year really set me up for some hard four years of high school where I was able to perform and get a scholarship to BYU. Having lost that state championship my senior year really gave me that energy I needed going into college to make something out of my college career.”
While playing football for BYU his junior year, he said they lost the last two games after being 12-0 “thanks to Hawaii.” He ended up not getting drafted to the NFL and when he later signed on with the Eagles, they lost in the Super Bowl.
“Not getting drafted into the NFL I felt really gave me that hunger and that edge I needed to make an NFL team. It’s a blessing enough that I even got to play in the Super Bowl.”
Mahe also said this last season of BYU football has also been a trial.
“This year we were 4-9 as a football program, but the lessons I’ve learned this year as a coach and as a person through the trials of this season are blessings that nobody can ever take from me. They’re lessons I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life.”