Life hasn't always been a snap for Steve Davis

by Jenni Carlson Modified: July 1, 2007 at 6:15 am •  Published: July 1, 2007
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Folks all over the state wanted him to speak to their groups. He was so sought after, in fact, that he would be shuttled to speaking engagements in cities big and small on the university's plane. "I felt like I was on the university plane more than the president,” Davis joked.

Thing is, it might have been true. Sometimes — pay attention, college coaches — he'd even go on Friday night before a game. The coaches trusted him so much that they knew he could make the trip and still be ready to play on Saturday.

Good fortune followed Davis after his college career ended, too. He spent 18 years as a college football broadcaster. He opened successful businesses in Tulsa. He looked to be living the good life. But there were problems.

His first marriage ended in divorce. His passion for work waned. Then, his brother, George, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. Davis began to unravel. He seemed outwardly like the same old Steve, but on the inside, a battle raged.

George sensed it, and eight months before his death, he wrote Steve a letter. "I will be dead soon,” he wrote. "Before that blessed event takes place, I hope you will take some time to look around and recognize what you're doing. It is time for you to consider what has been done for you instead of what you have done for others.”

Then, George penned the words that still resound with Steve."My life is almost finished,” George wrote. "Your life is unfinished.”

The letter angered Davis, disgusted him even. "But over time,” he said, "I started realizing he was right.” Davis spent many weekends sitting with his brother, and after disease took George's ability to speak, Steve would feed him ice chips. Change the CDs. Listen to his breathing. And in those moments, he became a new man.

"What changed my life was seeing his courage,” Davis said of his brother, who died March 1, 1993. "It's given me a resolve to be more passionate about the very opportunities that I've been given. Passion can empower you. Passion can change your life.”

Davis thinks often about those words in his brother's letter, about how his life is unfinished, about how much he has to give. He lives now with renewed strength, not tired steps. He focuses on the things that are most important to him. Faith. Family.

"It's not about me now,” he said. "I've learned that.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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Former Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis, left, helped the Sooners win back-to-back national titles and 28 consecutive games during one stretch. He finished with a 32-1-1 career record. BY Jim Argo, The Oklahoman Archive

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