Redskin Displays - Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio

Herbert Hoover – The Engineer


“And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.” Deuteronomy 32:44 KJV

I’m a huge football fan, especially of the Washington Redskins. I’m hoping that one day they will return to their glory days and we will really have something to celebrate. I must confess, though, they have broken my heart many times lately.

Lately we seem to be singing the same song. We get all excited when Training Camp rolls around. New players, new coaches, and a whole new attitude swirls around. Yes, when Training Camp rolls around, we are going to win the Super Bowl. Then, at about the third game of the season, we are waving our all too familiar banner: “Just wait till next year!”

I have been a Redskin fan for almost as long as I can remember. When I was a boy, one of the first lessons I learned, as a Redskin fan, was that they didn’t win very often, but, boy, they use to be fun to watch. Sonny Jurgensen and Charlie Taylor, were quite the combo. Sonny had a picture perfect pass and legend has it he could throw the football underhanded fifty yards. There was no catch Taylor couldn’t make. What a duo.

Then came Coach George Allen. We started winning, but it came at the expense of my beloved, fun offense. My old number 9, Sonny Jurgensen, was benched. The wobbly throwing Billy Kilmer took his place. Under Allen’s coaching, throwing the ball was not a very big part of the game plan. No, he wanted a more ball controlling, running game on the offensive side of the ball. Turnovers were unacceptable to him.

Allen was very defense minded. He also had a “the future is now” type of attitude. He traded away just about all our draft picks for older veteran players. We had a very experienced, well-disciplined team.

We started winning and we even went to our first Super Bowl (Super Bowl 7). We lost to the Miami Dolphins 14-7. We had a great defense, but we just didn’t score many points because he concentrated more on the defensive side of the ball.

The Redskin’s glory years came when Joe Gibbs became our coach. Gibbs’ was more of an offensive coach, but we had a pretty good defense, too. We had the Hogs, a big and quick offensive line. We also had the Fun Bunch. That was the name given the receivers. They would score a lot of touchdowns and would jump up and down in the end zone when they scored a touchdown. We won three Super Bowls (Super Bowls 17, 22, and 26) under Joe Gibbs. We also went to another Super Bowl (18), but we lost to the LA Raiders.

Since that time, the Redskins have only popped up in the playoff scene a few times. Even then, we never get real far when we do get in the playoffs. Such is the life of a Redskins fan.

I believe, if you could classify our Presidents as either offensive or defensive, most of our Presidents, at least while they are President, would be classified as defensive. Even the ones who were offensive before coming into office turn defensive once they get there.

Presidents, more than likely, are going to try to protect their cause. They have their plans, but they spend so much time defending and explaining them. There are only a few Presidents who went full steam ahead without much effort in defending what they were trying to accomplish.

Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson are probably the most well-known of the offensive Presidents. It looks like our current President, Donald Trump, might be looking to add his name to that list.

What is most surprising about this is that what got most of the Presidents to the White House in the first place was their offensive actions and attitudes. Yet when they moved on to the big stage, they just seem to try to rally everyone around them and their causes. They explain and defend everything they do.

Some just get very frustrated with the process and the red tape and they spend most of their time working things through the proper channels. Some just stubbornly give up on the process and their principles and nothing really gets done.

Hu-hua, as he was called, was one very offensive type player. He was one of our Presidents who rose from nothing and became very successful. He didn’t always do it by playing by the rules.

Long before Hu-hua acquired his nickname, he was born to Jesse and Hulda. Although most people say he was born on August 10th, it was so close to midnight that he might have been born on the 11th. Hu-hua’s father died when he was six years old. Less than four years later, when Hu-hua hadn’t yet turned ten years old, his mother died, too. Now Hu-hua, his brother, and his sister were orphans.

The family would ship little Hu-hua off to another uncle in Oregon. As he boarded the train, he had his ample larder, telescope bag, bedroll, a treasured collection of sticks, and two dimes. Things were not looking very bright for him.

Uncle Henry John met Hu-hua at the train station. Aunt Laura was at home waiting for him. Uncle Henry was very strict, but it was probably exactly what Hu-hua needed. Uncle Henry was also a doctor. This would afford Hu-hua all kinds of opportunities, like entering Stanford to study geology.

After graduating, Hu-hua would go to work for the US Geological Survey. The job here did not provide much security because all their projects were publicly funded and varied year to year depending on the whims of the Federal Government. Besides, it didn’t pay very well either.

A long, long time ago, in Biblical times, there was a young boy who was the son of a slave. That would also make him a slave. Slaves aren’t given permission to dream of a better life. Slaves aren’t usually presented with opportunities to make a better life for themselves. No, when you are born into slavery you know your life is probably going to mirror the life of your father.

We really don’t know too much about this lad’s early life. We know his father’s name was Nun and he was born in Egypt, probably somewhere in the area called Goshen. We also know he was from the tribe of Ephraim. His name was Hoshea.

If we read a little further in the Bible we can make some observations and educated guesses as to the type of character Hoshea might have been. Since he was a slave, he was probably pretty strong, but that was probably true of a lot of the slaves. There was just something a little different about him.

I believe Hoshea was of an offensive mindset. He believed in dreams that were bigger than most people’s dreams. He saw the bright side of things and he was willing to put all his efforts into helping make those dreams come alive.

When freedom’s opportunity came Hoshea’s way, I’m sure he was one of the first ones in line. He would do whatever he could to make sure this wasn’t a missed opportunity. Hoshea would be a leader, because leaders, at least rising leaders, are very offensive minded.

Hu-hua saw his hopes and dreams being fulfilled in the mines of Nevada City and Grass Valley. Rich and successful miners ran those mine operations. It seemed like the perfect job for him. But he was smart and he realized you just didn’t walk in the door and get those jobs. He knew those miners usually started at the bottom and worked their way up. He would try to get any office job he could from one of these mining companies, even if it was sweeping the floors.

The miners, who ran those mines, were very suspicious of this “book-learned,” college-educated boy. But Hu-hua was determined and one of the miners took a chance on him. It didn’t take him long to move up the ladder.

Soon Hu-hua realized that he was very limited in upper mobility at this job. He decided to search for another job. He would find one and he would work under a Mr. Janin. Again he would keep moving up. Janin knew Hu-hua’s talents were a lot bigger than his company.

One day Janin received an inquiry from a big world-wide mining company out of London. Janin knew the perfect match. That match was Hu-hua. Hu-hua would jump at the opportunity and he never looked back.

As Hoshea’s freedom journey continued, the head boss took notice of Hoshea and he liked what he saw. Hoshea would become one of the twelve leaders he would choose to report directly to him.
The boss had a very special, hazardous assignment for his twelve leaders. He wanted them to scout out some new territory. He was hoping that the area could be acquired for the former slaves he was now leading. These leaders were to check it out and report back to him. Off they went.

When the twelve leaders came back with their report, it was very gloomy. Ten of the twelve advised the boss that it would be a disaster to expand into the territory he suggested. No, here was the point when the offensive leaders switched to defensive leaders. Their recommendation to the boss was that everyone should just be happy with what they had. The land was already filled with well-established giants and their little upstart idea would be no match for the well-established people already living in the land.

Hoshea and one other associate would report just the opposite. The land was full of all kinds of opportunity. They weren’t too small. They weren’t destined to doom. They weren’t going to get crushed. No, they had something that those giants did not have: hope and determination.

I wonder what Moses thought when ten of the leaders, who he sent to scout out the Promised Land, came back with predictions of doom. Did Moses think they were right or did he have faith that the God that gotten them this far could take them anywhere, including the Promised Land?

I’m sure Moses had a smile on his face when Hoshea, whom he called Joshua, contradicted everything the other ten leaders were saying. What a positive, inspiring, offensive way of thinking Joshua was expressing. I think Moses was probably thinking, “Now there is someone who really gets it.”

When the Israelites would actually get the opportunity to enter the Promised Land, it would be Joshua who would lead the way. And Joshua would never lose his offensive mindset. Joshua would defeat one army after another. Joshua would always follow God’s direction with a “full steam ahead” attitude.

Bewick and Moreing was the mining company Hu-hua would go to work for. Hu-hua would travel all over the world and would amass a great fortune. But one of his biggest breaks came when he went to China.

China was just getting over its disastrous war with Japan. No one in their country seem to get along. Civil wars were popping up everywhere. World powers, especially in the West, really wanted a piece of the action. Colonization, annexing, and leasing were tools these countries were trying to employ.

Hu-hua was now commanding a huge salary and his engineering services were now in big demand in China. He and his wife would always love China. They now could afford a mansion and nine servants. Not bad for a boy who once headed to Oregon, on a train, with only two dimes to his name.

It was while Herbert Hoover was in China that he acquired the nickname Hu-hua. That was Chinese for Hoover.

Shortly after Hoover arrived in China a small group of anti-Western religious fanatics, called the Heavenly Fists, decided that China needed to be ethnically cleansed of foreign “devils.” The Western press would call these rebels the Boxers.

Soon the Boxers’ rebellion would get very close to the Hoovers. Herbert would recall his company’s geological survey teams from north China. The Boxers took every opportunity to kill Westerners. The Boxers were approaching the city where Hoover and his wife, Lou, were staying. The Hoovers pitched in to help the locals. Lou even strapped a .38 Mauser pistol to her belt.

The Hoovers survived the Boxers’ siege of Tianjin. Make no mistakes about it, Hoover was very proactive in his time in China. He could have just left, but instead, he decided to stand and help fight. When the fighting ended, Herbert would survey the damage. He decided to sell what was left and he and Lou would leave China and return home.

I would consider Herbert Hoover an offensive player in China. He didn’t let things come his way; he boldly blazed a trail and aggressively took the steps to make it a successful operation. When warring conditions surrounded him, he didn’t back down. Again, he aggressively stood by the locals and did everything he could do to help. He didn’t sit back. He didn’t run. No, Hoover was an offensive player.

When Herbert Hoover became President, he was much like most of the Presidents. His offensive minded personality didn’t carry over to his Presidency. Although he probably gets too much credit for one of the worst depressions (1939) we have ever had, he seemed to be comfortable in the defensive. He mainly took an “it will take care of itself” stance. The proactive, “we’re going to fix it” attitude didn’t seem to exist. Maybe history would have been a little kinder to him if he was more of an offensive player.

Jesus Christ taught us to be proactive, offensive players. He did this through his examples. He fed the poor, He healed the sick, He had sympathy on the downcast, He forgave those who caused him harm, and He loved unconditionally. When religious and political leaders questioned his religious views, He basically said He believed that actions spoke louder than words.

I believe the world would be such a better place if we all became offensive players. Don’t wait for your spouse to grab your hand or give you a hug. You be the one who starts it. Don’t look for someone else to make you happy. Go out and try to find something you can do to bring a smile to someone’s face. Don’t be the only one in the picture. The more smiles you have in the picture, the better.

Prayer: Dear Mighty Father, Sometimes it is so easy to get into my ruts. I look and see how unfair the world is to me. I feel I don’t deserve to be treated this way and I’m owed more respect. Although it is hard, help me to get out of my defensive position and jump into an offensive position. Help me to look for what I can do more than I look for what I can get. Amen.

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