image1Monday marked the start of another school year at the Tiede house as well as the first football practice of the season for Caleb. I’m not sure who was more excited about football—him or me! It’s safe to say we are a football loving mother/son duo!

In a post I shared last week, I talked about the valuable lessons and skills that sports provide kids an opportunity to learn. Last night, our family had the privilege of screening Greater, the inspirational movie based on the life of Brandon Burlsworth that reminds us that any dream is possible. [This movie releases in theaters on Friday, August 26!]

Admittedly, we Tiedes are football movie junkies. There are very few football movies we haven’t seen. In fact, we recently set a goal of re-watching all of those movies as we prepare for football season. I can honestly say that Greater is a new Tiede favorite!

What’s not to love about Brandon Burlsworth? He was perhaps the greatest walk-on in the history of college football. Watching the truly unlikely possibility of a kid as awkward and unfit as Burlsworth actually getting to play college football was, at times, painful. Brandon’s one dream was to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks, but he was written of by most of his coaches and ridiculed bullied by his fellow teammates. We all squirmed watching the movie at times because the level of abuse Brandon took made us uncomfortable. 

image12Seemingly undeterred, Brandon continued to be the first player to show up for practices and the last to leave. That kid busted his butt to achieve his dream and his determination paid off. Burlsworth became of the greatest payers on the field, achieved All-American, and was drafted to the Indianapolis Colts.

While Greater highlights some of the painful bullying and shaming that people foisted on Brandon, it also highlighted some incredible coaches, mentors, and family “cheerleaders” who had a marked impact on Brandon’s life. Those mentors were champions both on and off the field as they chose to really SEE Brandon, they affirmed his dreams, they challenged him to work hard, and they modeled integrity, faith, and hard work in their own lives. I am forever grateful for those mentors in my kids’ lives who have done that for my kids.*

This is an A-MA-ZING underdog story. Our favorite 14-year-old offensive lineman (Caleb Tiede) was most excited that a movie would be made about a fellow offensive lineman! These aren’t the football players that typically enjoy any time in the spotlight. That got our family thinking about all of the hard things we must all do and go through to be the people God purposed us to be, to face challenges, and achieve dreams and callings.

During this school year, Caleb is facing his third surgery on his ear in an effort to restore hearing after a tumor ate away some of his hearing bones. This lack of hearing could serve as a huge obstacle on the football field, but Caleb is determined to have his best season yet. He’s worked all summer on his football skills, participated in summer football, and he knows that if he stays close to his coaches (literally – so he can hear them), works really hard and always does his best, he can achieve anything. Maybe this will be the year he scores his first touchdown for his RYFA All Star Basement Team! For sure he will have a ton of fun and watching Greater certainly inspired him to never give up.

Watch the trailer and see if you aren’t inspired too …

This movie made us laugh, gasp, cheer, and cry. That’s a good movie—right there. One of my favorite parts of the movie is shown in the trailer when Burlsworth rallies his teammates on the field with, “How bad do you want it?” “Real bad!” “How bad?” “Real bad!” Every time I hear that movie, I can see and hear Coach Neumann rallying my son’s team with a similar rally cry. What goals do you have? What dreams have you carried for years? Whether it’s a career goal, a health goal, an athletic goal, an academic goal, or a financial goal … I would ask you, “How bad do you want it?” If your answer is, “REAL BAD!” then get after it and make it happen. 


  1. I will be giving away TWO Greater Football Jerseys to TWO lucky winners. Check out the Rafflecopter to learn how you can win.
  2. I will also give away ONE $25 Walmart gift card to one lucky coach, teacher, or mentor. Comment on my Facebook page and tell me which coach, school teacher, or mentor in your community has helped and inspired you and/or your child(ren). One winner will randomly chosen on September 1. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Though I risk missing a TON of people, I want to mention a few people who have spoken into my kids’ lives, have mentored/coached them, and have modeled integrity, faith, and hard work. I will be forever grateful to: John Kastner, Zach Ryan, Troy Neumann, Chad Rathbun, Ken Navitsky, Spence Swanson, Tim Gerber (and all the guys at the Southern MN Trap Club), Suzy Johnson, Carla Hanson, Jen Elder, Scott Elder, Matt Allmand, Kristi Elker, Janel Saunders, Emma Barnhart, Sarah Satterblom, Michelle Nyman, Daved Driscoll, John Chaco, Nate Stenholz