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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended September 17, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 19Sep00

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 worthwhile."

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 Navy pilot.

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


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