Drafted: Why Chris Norman Said No to the NFL


There are many crossroads in a person’s career…

…but not everyone has to make a hard decision about the National Football League. How do you make such a life-altering decision? That’s the premise of my latest short film, Drafted. It was commissioned by Desiring God and released just in time for the start of the college football season.

Chris Norman
Chris Norman
This was an incredibly fun project to produce. Sports films nearly always are, as they are classic stories of the struggle for a big goal. But some moments shooting this project felt more like a mission trip than a film set. We took our subject, Chris Norman, to downtown Detroit to film him doing street ministry. But we weren’t even out of the van before a woman named Swandolyn came up to us. She was desperate to get off the streets and to reconnect with her family. We asked her permission to film the conversation with Chris, which she freely gave. But it didn’t feel right to simply do that, pray for her, give her some dinner money, and then walk away. So some of us stayed behind to locate a shelter for the night and to connect her with other resources in Detroit.
Editing this film offered another opportunity to treat this project like a mission trip–because it provided me with a daily reminder to pray for her. Swandolyn has an usual name. Perhaps her scattered family will come across this film and look for her in downtown Detroit. I hope so. Though I don’t know how to find her, I know that her Creator does. It was no accident she came upon us, I’m sure.
We were also the recipients of the artistic generosity of rap and hip-hop artists Shai Linne andFLAME, who freely let us feature their songs in this film. FLAME’s song, “Move,” is featured in the tackling montage and his lyrics foreshadow the decision Chris will need to make: “Now when the Lord tell me move I move, anything He want me to, yeah I do.” Shai Linne’s song, “Taste and See,” is used during the victory montage of the last game in Chris’s college career, and it highlights the tension you can experience when the decision you have to make is between the good and the better: “If you’ve tasted and seen, then you know what I mean, He’s good. In His nature is love, everything that He does, He’s good. Even when it gets tough, yes the Lord is enough, He’s good.” There’s nothing wrong with choosing football as a career, but if the Lord has drafted you into something else, that’s the better choice.
Drafted was a fun and edifying project to produce. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Chris Norman - Drafted
~ Carolyn
Read the original post and/or comment at Carolyn McCulley’s blog.
Carolyn McCulley
Carolyn is the author of two books, Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World (Moody Publishers, 2008) and Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred (Crossway, 2004). Carolyn is also a contributor to Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway, 2005), as well as to other webzines and publications. She is a frequent conference speaker for women’s ministry events and also maintains a blog, Radical Womanhood.