SOMETIMES, we need a reminder there is more to life than football and immersing yourself in the game as a fan, coach or player.
This is a lesson Eagles backup quarterback Matt Barkley learned at a young age.
And a lesson his father hasn't stopped teaching.
The latest evidence of this can be found on Barkley's Twitter account, where yesterday he tweeted a photo of his father in Tacloban, Philippines, with devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan in the background.
The tweet read: "Please keep my dad in your prayers as he brings aid and helps those in the Philippines recover from typhoon #Haiyan."
Les Barkley traveled there with Christian-based relief organizations.
"It didn't surprise me at all. That's the type of man he is," Matt Barkley said of his father, an insurance businessman who was a water polo All-American at Southern California in the late 1970s. "He is always looking to serve first, and he is blessed to be able to do that at moment's notice, and to be able to help whenever he can."
The typhoon killed an estimated 4,000 people, damaged more than 1 million houses and affected some 13 million people in some way.
Barkley said his reaction to the photo his father sent was: "Where do you start? Where does the healing begin? How do you even start to restore that area? I don't even know what that answer looks like right now. They just need fresh water and food, as hard as that sounds, and that's just devastating."
Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines' 25th typhoon this year, featured wind speeds that reached 195 mph.
Barkley said it did not take his father long to decide he would travel to the country in Southeast Asia.
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed tens of thousands, Les Barkley traveled to the Caribbean to help those who could not help themselves.
"He has a heart for service, especially with disaster-relief stuff like this," Matt Barkley said. "I mean, after the earthquake in Haiti he was down there within a week or so. He is just very skilled at getting the supplies in and helping [relief] teams get whatever they need and all of that stuff. He is taking the gospel with him as well and he is trying to help as much as he can."
Due to a poor phone connection in the Philippines, Barkley has been unable to receive frequent updates from his father. He was uncertain about the exact work his dad was doing as far as relief efforts were concerned.
"He has had limited time [to communicate] because of the connection but he is bringing relief with tons of supplies through Samaritan's Purse and Hope Force International, which is the same group that we went down to Haiti with," the younger Barkley said. "He's doing the most he can and obviously when he gets back I will have a lot more information on what he actually did."
Like his father, Matt Barkley is no stranger to helping those who need it most. In his USC years, Barkley volunteered in such global outposts as Haiti, Mexico and South Africa. When NCAA sanctions kept the Trojans out of the bowl picture, Barkley used the break to travel to Nigeria, where he did charity work that included distributing soccer balls to children.
"To see their eyes light up like those soccer balls were made of gold, I will never forget that," Barkley told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. "To see that something so small can be so important, it really taught me something."
Barkley was the first pick in the fourth round of this year's draft. He has appeared in three games when Michael Vick and Nick Foles have been injured, and has completed 30 of 49 passes for 300 yards.
As the Eagles enter their bye week, Barkley said he will not have time to travel to the Philippines to join his father to aid those affected by the disaster, but he hopes to make the trip in the offseason. The 6-5 Eagles return to play on Dec. 1 against the visiting Arizona Cardinals.
"If I had time, yeah. If this was the offseason or whatnot, absolutely," he said. "I think I might end up going in the offseason actually to see the relationships that he already made there. Our whole family has a hope for that, and following in his footsteps, and he is a great leader in that."
While football always will remain high on his list of priorities, Barkley believes it is even more important to remember those in need and to find time to help out.
"I think it just gives you a perspective that we're here, and you might feel sorry for yourself or feel like your life is dragging on, but it shows how blessed you are," he said.
"That typhoon leveled everything; it's just devastating. Just realizing that you have so much and have been given so much, you better make the most of it."