You’ve probably heard of Jon Dorenbos. The veteran long snapper made a headline here last Agust for suffering an injury in the Eagles’ preseason opener at Chicago.
But you probably don’t know his story. You should.
At the age of 12, Jon’s father killed his mother. Jon found comfort not in football, but magic.
“I would record these magic specials on TV,” he tells Bryant Gumbel of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. “And then I could put the VCR in late at night, and I could watch the magic shows, and I could try and figure them out. I would go in my room for hours and hours and hours. I would literally have a little flashlight. And my sister and I shared a room. And she’d fall asleep. And I’d click this flashlight on. And then all of a sudden I’d look over at the clock and it’s six in the morning and I gotta go to school at, like, 7:40. . . . It was this place that I could go that nothing else around me mattered. It gave me a purpose. It gave me something that didn’t reject me. It gave me something that I could work at and I could see progression and I could master. . . .
“It was something that at the darkest time in my life was genuinely fun for me. It saved me, man. It really did.”
Dorenbos also mastered football, winning a scholarship with a little sleight of hand when editing a highlight reel. (He included highlights from two of his high school teammates.) He then learned how to long snap, he mastered that, too, and he has been doing it for 11 years in the NFL. He’ll surely be doing magic a lot longer.
You’ll hear the compelling story of Jon Dorenbos and see his impressive skills if you tune in to HBO on Tuesday, August 19 at 9:00 p.m.