Originally Posted by Mike Young August 2006
Guys, football season is finally here. It’s hard to explain the emotions that overcome us at this time of year. Players at all levels are practicing for season openers. Pre-season polls and predictions consume many avid fans. Just recently, Stacy and I watched the end of the movie Remember the Titans. She was quite passive about the whole thing but I was fully engaged. She observed my body language and made the comment… “This affects you doesn’t it?”
I had to admit that I was getting excited.
I played high school football and then helped coach a bit when I was a high school teacher. I was and still am, far from being obsessed by the game. I was a mediocre athlete and coached more because of my love for the kids than for my love of the game. But just thinking about playing and coaching, being in that environment brings back a flood of memories. Even though some of the experiences weren’t great at the time, being part of the team and competing with other guys was amazing fun. It’s not uncommon for a comment or occurrence to take me back to those memories…
Even though my high school coaches were often irreverent, I learned much about life from them. Do these ideas resonate with you?
There’s no I in team!
I remember hearing that from my football coach for the first time. I thought, “The man is a genius! Yes, we have to work together!” I’m still applying it to my life in many ways. There’s a scriptural parallel in Ecclesiastes…Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work. Of course it takes eleven in football but the key is we need to be connected.
I wonder, do you have a team of men with whom you experience the wins and losses of your life?
Fundamentals are key!
Guys, did you ever hear a coach say that the team performed so poorly that the next practice would focus only on the fundamentals of football…. Blocking and tackling. I remember in the middle of the season having to go back through practice sessions that were structured just like the two-a-days at the beginning of the season…. Basic blocking and tackling drills. There’s a lesson here for us also.
When things are not going as well as we would like… perhaps we should go back to our faith basics… Prayer and Bible study.
You can be a winner on a losing team!
We were not a powerhouse team. Our best record while I was playing was 5-4-1. There were nights that I hated to look at that scoreboard and see how badly we were getting beaten. It was embarrassing and frustrating, but there is good that can come from those times as well. As we walked off the field and headed toward the locker room one night, I remember the coach walking beside me and saying “Michael, you are a winner on a losing team.” I don’t know how many guys he said that to but I do know that that comment meant the world to me. Obviously I’ve held onto the concept for over twenty years.
It reminds me that even in difficult circumstances; men of strong character can stand tall as an example to others.
I relate this lesson to Paul’s encouragement to Timothy; Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believes in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Guys, your age may not be the hindrance you need to overcome. It doesn’t make any difference what your obstacle is. The key is to rise above whatever you or anyone else might see as a deficit and be an example for others.
Men, regardless of your surroundings, make it your business to be a powerful example for others.
There are countless other lessons I learned from the game of football. I’m sure you could relate some similar stories from your experiences. Guys, look back over your life and consider some of the important life lessons you learned in unlikely places.