ROBERTSDALE, Alabama --- Bobby Humphrey knows a thing or two about investments.
Growing up in the shadow of Legion Field, Humphrey worked concessions for University of Alabama Crimson Tide football games and dreamed of one day walking onto the field as a player.
Through the investment of a lot of time and effort, Humphrey made those dreams come true.
As a Tide running back, Humphrey was voted as an All-American in 1986 and 1987, rushing for 3,420 yards, caught 60 passes for 523 yards and scored 40 touchdowns over four seasons.
He was named UPI’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1987 and finished 10th in voting for the Heisman Trophy before being drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos in 1989.
As a professional, he invested his time and talent and garnered success, rushing for 1,151 yards and scored seven touchdowns for the Broncos in his rookie season, losing out to Barry Sanders for Rookie of the Year honors in 1989, then went on to be a Pro Bowl selection in 1990.
After his playing days ended in 1993, Humphrey used his talent and knowledge to invest time in other people, coaching for the Birmingham Steeldogs in the Arena Football 2 league from 2000 to 2005.
In the business world, Humphrey knows all about investments, working as a sales representative for Ready Mix USA and as a consultant with Bryant Bank.
He also continues to invest his time and talents with charities, coaching ball teams and speaking to kids at churches schools and community outreach programs.
On Thursday, at the Central Baldwin Chamber of Commerce’s eighth annual Prayer Breakfast at the Baldwin County Coliseum in Robertsdale, Humphrey talked about working with young boys on a 10- to 11-year-old basketball team.
“We had one play I called freestyle,” he said. “I told my players, ‘if you have an open shot take it, if you don’t have an open shot, pass the ball to someone who is open and let them take the shot, but the most important thing is if you have an open shot, you have to take it.’ The way I figured it, if we took so many more shots than the other team, then it would give us a fighting chance, and boy did they ever.”
One boy, in particular, Humphrey recalled, took a lot of shots, but never hit anything.
“He was not the best athlete on the team,” Humphrey said. “Sometimes he would shoot the ball over the backboard, sometimes he would shoot the ball and it would not make it to the net, but he never made a shot.”
One game, Humphrey said, after taking several shots but not hitting anything, the player came the bench in tears.
“He wanted to quit,” Humphrey said, “but I took him a side and told him, ‘I want you to do something for me. I want you to go out there and keep shooting. If you have a shot, take it. Don’t give up.’”
And he did, Humphrey said, boy did he ever.
“We get the ball to start the second half and come down the court. He gets the ball, shoots and, swish, nothing but net,” Humphrey said. “Next time down the floor, he gets the ball and hits a bank shot. Third time he comes down and shoots a 3-pointer and, swish, again nothing but net.”
Overjoyed, Humphrey said, the player is now strutting as he’s coming back down the court.
“After the game, his mother comes up to me in tears,” he said.
Come to find out that in the three years he had been in the league, he had never made a shot. He was spending more and more time on the bench and other coaches were telling him not to shoot.
Now, years later, that young player, a junior at Spain Park High School, is one of the top high school lacrosse players in the state of Alabama, Humphrey said.
“He went from wanting to quit to having the confidence to be one of the top athletes in his sport,” Humphrey said, “all because someone invested the time and gave him the confidence to succeed.”
By the same token, Humphrey said, God has made an investment in our lives and expects us to make an investment in Him.
Humphrey quoted In John 3:16, which says that God gave his only son so that we might have life everlasting.
“All He’s asking for if for you to give your life to Him,” Humphrey said, “and in return, He will give you eternal life.”
Several hundred local residents heard Humphrey speak at the prayer breakfast, which was held to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday.
The program, which went by the theme of “America On Bended Knee,” was presented by Baldwin EMC.
Diamond sponsors were Riviera Utilities, Terry Thompson Chevrolet, Pen Air Federal Credit Union and Power Productions. Silver sponsors were the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, Bay Wood Products and Century 21, SSM Real Estate. Bronze sponsors were Franklin Primary Health Center and Stastka Insurance.
Following breakfast, provided by Mama Lou’s restaurant in Robertsdale, Steve Brooks, past chairman of the Board with the Central Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, opened the program, followed by a presentation of colors by the Robertsdale High School ROTC.
Committee Chairman Dennis Stastka led both the American Pledge and the Christian Pledge with local student Logan Anthony singing the National Anthem and opening prayer and blessing by Brother Grant Barber, interim pastor with Bethel Baptist Church. Kaydra Taylor presented special music before Stastka introduced Humphrey as the guest speaker.
Following Humphrey’s presentation, pastors from local churches presented offerings of prayer, including, Pastor Jeff Hunter, Grace Fellowship Baptist Church, churches; Pastor Steve Spinning, Robertsdale United Methodist Church, communities; Father Pat Madden, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, nation; Pastor Dan Lowery, Three Rivers Baptist Church, military; Pastor Mike Lynn, First Assembly of God; and Jeff Copeland, First Baptist Church, Robertsdale, ministry related volunteers.
Robertsdale Mayor Charles Murphy then presented the closing prayer for the program.
According to its website, nationaldayofprayer.org, the National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863.
In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Harry S Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.
“Time is the most important and valuable asset you have in life,” Humphrey said. “When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever and most likely forgotten. But what you do today is an investment in your future. I encourage everyone to use today to foster a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If you are not already close to him, get closer.”