It is a September Friday in Texas. To many this means football. Many people will experience a starry night tonight filled with the sounds of cheers and the smell of fresh cut grass and cooking hotdogs as they gather to cheer on their teams. I’m a fan of this tradition and would like to share my experience and outlook on the game.
I grew up in a small town with a Class A school. We barely had enough kids to make a football team, which meant everyone played and on both sides of the ball for all four quarters. That was over twenty-years ago for me and now my son is experiencing it himself. I can’t even begin to explain all of the life-lessons that were gained on the football field in those short few years but I want to point out the most important ones.
In essence, it was a training ground for real life experiences I would face later on. I just didn’t know it. There are only a few times in the life of an average American when these type of principles and values can actually be practiced in such a physical way. One small window of opportunity for this is on a High School football field, which only comes around once.
Like any pastime, football can be misrepresented by those who are the loudest. Obsessed fans, overbearing parents, and hothead coaches abound. But remember, for every fan shouting at the ref to open his eyes, there’s a kid on the field who has already accepted the unfair call and is readying himself for the next task at hand. For every demanding parent who criticizes a kid for dropping the ball or missing a block, there’s a teammate who slaps his shoulder-pad and says, “shake it off, we’ll get em on the next play”.
So if you go watch a football game tonight, encourage the players to be strong for each other and to do their personal best. Winning is nice, but that’s the bonus. The real battle is inside of themselves. Someday, these players will forget tonight’s final score, but if played right, the victory of the heart will last them a lifetime.