Summarized by Mike Nielsen
RM Brings Intensity Back With Him to Navy Football
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND -- After spending two years on a mission in
Brazil, where his diet was primarily rice and beans, Navy linebacker
Jake Bowen is hungry. Hungry for football, that is. He last played
for Navy in 1997. Two years -- and 50 pounds-- later, Bowen has
returned to play football with great intensity. In the team's first
game of the season, he had a team-leading 12 tackles.
Bowen credits his missionary experience with helping him personally,
and with helping his game. "Even though my experience down there
wasn't football related, I think the maturity and having the broader
vision definitely helped. A lot of what the mission teaches you is to
find your potential, find out who you are and what you're capable
of," said Bowen.
His mission took him to Maceio, a large city in northeastern Brazil.
One of the primary difficulties Bowen faced was working with families
whose fathers did not take responsibility for their children. Seeing
them become more involved with their families was very gratifying to
Bowen, who says "Instead of drinking and playing checkers all day,
the father would really start taking care of his family. It didn't
matter how little you did. Just to be a part of that process of
change--seeing people take control of their lives--is the best
feeling in the world. In spite of all the sacrifices, it made it
While on his mission, he considered playing football for BYU when he
returned. He decided instead to return to Navy, and hopes to become a
His coach says Bowen is more confident in his abilities now than
before he left for Brazil. But Bowen notices a more subtle change in
himself. He has learned about happiness.
"The people there didn't have anything. They were just poverty
stricken," Bowen said. "For me, I saw that the most important thing
in my life was to be happy, and it didn't really matter what you have
and don't have."
He Finds New Life Among Rice and Men
Washington Post pgD02 13Sep00 S2
By Rich Scherr: Special to The Washington Post