DANTE BOOKER SR. BIO
Akron Ellet HS (O.)1993-97
All City Basketball.
Garden City CC (Kan.)1999-00
ACL Knee Surgery.
Montgomery CC (Md) 2000-01
Auburn University – 2001-03
Indianapolis Colts (2003),
Signed as Free Agent.
Florida Firecats (2004)
Arena Football League
British Columbia Lions (2003-06)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2007-09)
The names on the lockers read Marvin Harrison, Edgeren James, Dwight Freeney and Peyton Manning. I was in camp with the Indianapolis Colts with a better chance to make THEIR roster than even my own HIGH SCHOOL football team. As I stood there in awe of where I was, memories from my childhood raced through my mind. There was one night I found myself looking down the barrel of an old rusted revolver.
"Don't move or I'll shoot," he said.
The long-barreled revolver in the old man's right hand was shaking. So was I. All I could think about was dying and how, I didn't want to, not this way, not in some poor guy's garage trying to steal a lawnmower. And not at 12; God, who wants to die at 12?
"Don't shoot," I prayed. "Please, please mister don't shoot!"
It was moments like this that plagued my “eventful” childhood. There were countless memories of helplessness. I will never forget the pitfalls and struggles I had as a child and the assumption that this was simply the way life was going to be for me. I can never forget being thrown into a detention center and crying the hole ight through, or my mother having to heat up our house in the cold winter with the oven, and stealing water from our next door neighbors’ water hose to fill our bathtub after we couldn’t afford the water bill. These family problems caused my brothers and I to struggle most of our lives, including finding places to live, impacting our grades and school attendance as well as our relationships with others. Making it through middle school seemed almost impossible.
Fortunately, the turnaround began when a teammate’s grandfather (Sam Serves) arranged tutoring for me in 8th grade. Sam promised to buy me any basketball shoe I wanted if I passed, which I did. Not only did Sam let me pick out those Jordan’s on the top shelf, but the tutor became my mentor. That mentor introduced me to the most amazing love I have ever known.
In spite of this help, my misdirection and young nature led to more legal and family problems, including becoming a father at the young age of 17. Life was a blur, complicated to say the least. I played football as a freshman but academic troubles discouraged my coach from giving me a chance to play my sophomore, junior, or senior year. I focused on basketball and became an all city player (even breaking a glass backboard on a dunk in practice). I was sticking my chest out and wearing a chip on my shoulder, but I was barely surviving, and still turning my back on God.
I obtained my GED instead of graduating so that junior college was possible and my size (6’3”, 270 lbs) led me to pursue football instead of basketball. In spite of a traumatic knee injury while at junior college, my performances earned me a scholarship to play at Auburn University.
While in high school, I had asked Christ to be my Savior, but I struggled to become who I knew God wanted me to be. But once at Auburn, good teammates and the team chaplain helped develop my hunger to want a real relationship with God. I recommitted my life to Christ while in college and began to mature spiritually. I felt connected and knew I was part of something special.
Hard work and a stable college life increased my size and strength (500 lb. bench), and helped me go from an “unknown” to playing in two major college bowl games (Capital One Bowl and Peach Bowl). Though I was released by the Colts in 2003, God still blessed me with the opportunity to play three seasons in the Canadian Football League, mostly with British Columbia, as well as with various Arena Football Leagues. All this, and God was just getting started.
Since then, I have graduated college, pursued a career as a firefighter, and married the most amazing woman. I have continued to strive to be the best father I can be. To God be the glory. I am now a man in the community helping to save lives and lead my own family, all because of how God has led my heart and spared my life. Please let Him do the same for you by pursuing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and doing all you can to benefit from His guidance and protection for your life too.