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"Everybody has a bubble around them that makes them feel comfortable," he says. "By coming here, I've reached beyond my bubble. I feel more competent."
His girl friend sent a BYU national championship T shirt. He stowed it in his closet. A friend sent a BYU national championship bumper sticker. "I don't really feel a part of it," he said, putting it aside. He hadn't learned, or sought, the score of the Holiday Bowl until three weeks after the game. The only part of him that still felt like an athlete was the burning itch between his toes. The humidity had given him athlete's foot.
He sensed that he had won something important, but now he needed to know if that meant he could no longer have the things he once loved. In February he found a dingy club where he could pump iron three days a week if he woke up at 6 a.m. A few weeks after he began there, a man about to steal a radio noticed Busenbark's size and fled without it.
A few missionaries eating with him at Bob's, a fast-food chain in Rio, challenged his once-proud eating prowess. He promptly annihilated a sundae in 23 seconds and a Big Bob—"bigger than a Big Mac," he says—in a world record three seconds. The missionaries looked at him with a respect he hadn't felt in a year. He belched happily. Maybe he would be a football player again, after all.
"Ma'am, we represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," said Sean Covey, the young man expected to be the next great BYU quarterback. "We have a message about Jesus Christ today. Can we come in and share it?"
"Nee. Totsiens" (No. Goodby), said the South African woman. The door closed. The lock clicked.
He went to the next house. The fat man wore no shirt and smelled of alcohol. "No," he said. "I was born into the Dutch Reformed Church, grew up in it, and I'll die in it." The door closed.
He approached a third house. A Scottish terrier spilled onto the porch, barking furiously. A woman in her 40s glared at Covey for irritating her pet. "I have my church," she snapped. "Please close the gate behind you!"
"Have a good day," he said politely as he left. Another scoreless day was coming to a close for the quarterback who threw for 33 touchdowns during his senior year at Provo High and completed 56% of his passes as a freshman for the BYU jayvees.
Covey returned to his apartment for a quick bite before going out to proselytize again that evening. As he ate a sandwich, his gaze fell upon his wall. Upon it was a picture of the church's present prophet with a quote that said, "Those who climb the highest mountains in life are the men of discipline." The wall also featured a list of 26 sayings about work; a list of five inspiring thoughts; a list of four goals for the week; a list of 10 things to do to achieve success; a list of five things to keep in mind while saying the 20 prayers a day he usually said; an inspirational poem; and pictures of Mormon temples in Hawaii, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Alberta and Johannesburg.