Well-traveled quarterback Danny Southwick has learned the power of persistence in his football career
"My wife is so supportive," Southwick said. "She's put up with so much more moves than anyone should have to go through. She is there right with me every single time."
Family has played a vital role for Southwick, who lives in Provo during the offseason, and it's a family with some familiar names: His uncle is former BYU quarterback Bret Engemann, and his stepfather is television and radio show host Larry King.
"I have the best family in the world and they've all been really supportive of me. They've tried to help me with things that are meaningful to me, and when things are down, they've always been there to pick me right back up," Southwick said. "I would not have been able to be as persistent as I have been without family and friends and particularly my wife.
"I hit the jackpot with my family."
On the field, the adversity and challenges haven't stopped this year.
Southwick joined the Thunder weeks into the season after a pair of rookie quarterbacks, including former Oregon Duck Darron Thomas, struggled in the team's first two games. Less than a week later, he took over for Thomas in the team's third game, an eventual 44-34 loss to fellow expansion team L.A. Kiss. But Southwick threw for four touchdowns that day and earned the start the next week against Spokane.
That game didn't go as planned, though, as the Shock stymied Southwick and the Thunder. After Spokane built a 20-0 lead, Southwick led Portland back, even taking a 21-20 lead early in the third quarter. But the Shock scored the next 35 points to put the game away, and two Southwick turnovers led directly to Spokane scores.
With that, the Thunder saw a need to again make a change, bringing in veteran AFL quarterback Kyle Rowley. Southwick was out as the starter, and Rowley went 1-1 at the helm the next two games.
But the window for Southwick reopened again when Rowley was sidelined by an injury, and Southwick led his team to victory against the Storm.
Though at this point it's unclear how long Rowley will be out, Southwick is thankful for the chance to be back out on the field leading his team.
"I think for the next little bit, I'll be under center. It's a good opportunity," he said. "Obviously, you don't want to see another guy get hurt, but anytime you get an opportunity to play, you want to be ready and go out there and capitalize on your own opportunities. You don't know how long you get, you know?"
Beyond football, Southwick has big plans. They include earning his MBA from UC Irvine — he's just a few credits shy — and Southwick acknowledges football has benefitted him on this frontier by opening doors for him.
"People like to talk ball with football players," he said. "Ultimately, doing my MBA is more about being qualified to do something (beyond the sport). Obviously, I want to play football as long as I can, but nobody can play forever."
Through all the twists and turns of his football career, Southwick has learned plenty of lessons, and they've shaped who he is today.
"You can do a lot more than you think you can when you have persistence," he said. "I learned how to be grateful for the moment, for the opportunities. You don't know how long you can play any game. You don't know how many plays you're going to get. You can either be afraid of that, be afraid of how you'll do, or you can really be happy and thankful for the chance to go do something you love to do.
"For as long as I'm playing football, I have to remember to be super grateful for every opportunity. I feel what I do is the greatest job in the world."
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @brandonljudd