I grew up in Texas, and high school football is a BIG DEAL! On top of it, I was a coach’s kid. We are kinda like our own little gang. But I love football. Doesn’t matter the kind of football, I watch. It can be pee wee, middle school, junior high, high school, college, or the NFL. I love it all. Living in South Africa during football season stinks. ESPN pulled out of Africa a few years back, otherwise we could see a game at 3am and then replayed later that night. Now, we just follow on Facebook or Twitter or some football app. It’s sad. But during my years of growing up a coach’s kid, I loved it. I wore and wear the title with pride. I also learned a few things. I am going to cover four of them here and yes, connect them to our life with Christ.
- Show up for pre-game. As coach’s kids we always were one on the first to arrive to the field. Sometimes we arrived before the teams came out to practice. What is the point of pre-game? Well, you stretch, run a few plays and sum up your opponent. Same as in our life, we should show up for pre-game. What is our pre-game? It’s showing up every day and doing your quiet time, getting to know your players and the opposition. Even the Lord, before the biggest “game” of his life (his before the cross) He withdrew and prayed in the garden. He prayed desperately to his father that this be taken away from him. (Matthew 26:36-46) In our life, every day we might not face our biggest game, it might just be a regular day, but we must start each day with the Lord.
- Defense Matters. Many people love the offense (the game scoring parts) of the game. It is essential to at least score once, but even more essential at least in my mind, is not letting the opponent score. You have to have a good defense otherwise the other team will run you over. It starts with a defensive line; the big guys. The ones that are watching and ready for when the ball is snapped. In our life we need to have our defensive line ready too. You ask, what does that look like? Our defense is the word of the Lord. It says in Psalm 119:11-16 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following the statues as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. When the world comes against us, we have His word in our heart to call upon. When Satan is attacking, we have HIS word to call upon.
- Never BOO! No matter what, it shows a great lack of sportsmanship to boo your opponent or the referee or the coach or the players. Anyone, you just don’t boo. It’s totally inappropriate. Still to this day, if I hear someone boo-ing it just goes up my spine. You love, that what you do. You do the right thing. Turn the other cheek. They are as human as you are. Love is the ultimate showing of sportsmanship. I am not saying I have no competitiveness in me, because I just might have a little, I am saying boo-ing people is not the answer. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45 Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:31 It says there is no greater commandment. We are going to lead people to THE LOVE if we don’t love ourselves. Love always wins.
- It’s not over til it’s over I have sat at many a game and watched as people left because they thought there was no way our team would win. And many of those games came down to the last few seconds. There was a field goal or a hail Mary that made into the end zone and we won. It’s an amazing feeling to win. In our Christian walk, we don’t have to wait to the last buzzer. We know who wins. Love wins. Christ has overcome our sin, everyone’s sin. He returns in his glory. We don’t know the hour or the day (Matthew 24:36). The Lord knows, but now one else. So, stay in the game, wait til the end. We know it will be glorious. Help our friends know the end.
I could go on and on about the life lessons I leaned as being a coach’s kid. I think it was my first taste of being a part of something. Same as being part of the family of Christ, I can call any of those kids from back in the day and we could carry on as if we had never been apart. So, every day, show up and be a part of the game. Give your best, never boo-ing; always loving. Christ wants us to share the love of the game so our friends can be with us at the end. Share the end with them. Christ died for their sins so that we might be free; share that.