The Cougars kicked off the 2010 season with their first pregame fireside Friday night, prior to the Washington game. Held at the Pleasant Grove North Field Stake Center, the fireside featured talks from freshman tight end Austin Holt and sophomore offensive lineman Clayton Gruber.
Austin, who returned home from an LDS mission to St. Louis, MO two months ago, started the evening by defining the role of a true disciple of Christ. "A disciple is one who is learning to become like Christ. It involves the total transformation of a person."
Back in 2004, Austin attended one of BYU's pregame firesides and had the opportunity to hear and learn from then-freshman wide receiver Austin Collie. Collie shared his excitement and willingness to put football on hold for two years and serve the Lord. "He set a great example for me by saying that," said Holt. "If I can offer any advice, it would be to serve a mission. It saved my life and gave my life more meaning. I know it can do the same for you."
Sophomore offensive lineman Walter Kahaiali'i followed Austin's talk by performing a musical number. He played the piano while singing the Primary song, "When I Am Baptized."
Clayton was the next speaker and opened by sharing a little bit about himself and how he ended up at BYU. After high school, Clayton expressed his strong desire to serve a mission while meeting with the coach of a Division III football program. The news wasn't taken with much enthusiasm, resulting in Clayton taking a break from football for eight years before landing a spot as a walk-on on the BYU roster.
"I've learned that this team is not about winning," he said. "Being part of this team is more than that. I've learned so much."
Clayton went on to quote Elder L. Tom Perry when he said, "The word disciple comes from the Latin word meaning a learner. A disciple of Christ is one who is learning to be like Christ—learning to think, to feel, and to act like he does."
Clayton then closed by posing the question, "Do you represent the Savior in all you do?"