Gary Goulin-Hero of the Underground

Author of Book: Jason Peter
Date Read: February 28, 2024

Book Report

Book Report # 5 Written by Gary Goulin – February 28, 2024

Why I Chose to Read This Book:

This book came highly recommended for its inspirational story of loss and triumph.

Book Summary:

This book chronicles the life of Jason Peter, a high-school football star who was recruited to the University of Nebraska. He excelled there, as well as, winning 3 national championships. He was a first-round draft choice of the Carolina Panthers, but his performance was not so stellar – racked by multiple injuries. He was forced to retire after 4 years, but found himself lost as football was all he knew. He descended into the world of drugs and rapidly became addicted to cocaine and heroin. He attempted suicide and did multiple stints in rehab, all of which were ineffective. He finally hit rock bottom, and with the support of his family he finally became clean. He fell in love, got married and remains happily sober. At the time of the book publication in 2008, Jason was living in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife, where he cohosts “The Spread”, a sports radio program for ESPN.

Lessons I learned:

We are not defined by what our occupation is or how much money we make; we are defined by who we are – our actions, values and how we treat and value others.
Shame is a destructive emotion and force. We must learn to let go of shame, forgive our self and try to do better.
Avoid recreational drugs.

How this book will contribute to my success while incarcerated and upon release:

Jason suffered an existential crisis when he was forced to retire from pro football. He had only viewed himself as a football player and nothing else. He had no other interests and was at a loss as to what to do with his life. He really didn’t know who he was, and to avoid this

Uncomfortableness he turned to drugs.

I need to stay focused on who I am, and what I value. I value friends, family, being of service to others. By maintaining healthy relationships with my family and friends, I will be much more able, not only to survive, but to thrive, while incarcerated. My friends and family can help me maintain my core values. Similarly, If I’m able to stick to my core values and be of service to others upon release, I stand an excellent chance of success. I intend to resume my volunteer work, as soon as possible, after release, as helping others is one of my core values. I’ve found that in helping others, I help myself as well, and that makes me more likely to have a successful life after release.

With respect to shame, I still carry a lot of it around with me, and I’m working on that. I made a terrible choice and I’m accepting responsibility and the consequences of my bad choice. Prior to incarceration, I was seeking help in dealing with my shame, and the causes for my bad choice. I intend to continue to avail myself of any services offered here, and will continue my therapy once released. I know that dealing with the shame, as well as, any other issues, will be important both here and upon release, because shame is a destructive force, a force that can decrease my chances of a successful release, as well as, impact my incarceration and my goals to emerge a better person.

Recreational drug use is rampant in prison. While I’ve never used recreational drugs and don’t intend to, no one knows what the future may bring. What I do know is that if I can stay emotionally healthy, deal with my shame and other issues, stay true to my values, and maintain strong relationships with family and friends, then I have a very excellent chance of coming out of my incarceration a better, healthier person, which can only lead to a better chance for a successful, law-abiding, happy and fulfilling release.