Forget soccer. I’m a football mom. And I’m all in, as our team is about to play game two of the playoffs. We’ve made the state playoffs for nine straight years. Seven of the last eight years, we’ve won. And considering we’re a six-man team with only nine players, that means most of the team has to play every down, both ways, without a break.
That’s nine years of hard work. Nine years of pulled muscles. Nine years of being clobbered, just to get back up again. Nine years of scrappy.
I wasn’t around for the first eight of those years, but this year, I’ve got to hand it to our coaches. They’re not just coaching a team; these guys coach young men. Individuals. They coach a lot more than athletic skills; they coach life. These coaches reinforcewhat parents have done their best to teach, with a voice that’s more accessible to teen ears. Our players have learned the importance of loyalty. Commitment. Responsibility. But perhaps the most important lesson our guys have learned this year is to play both ways.
Each of our players does an amazing job at covering multiple positions, but since this is my column, I’d like to brag on my son for a moment. In last week’s playoff game, he scored three touchdowns. After two of those touchdowns, he kicked for the extra points, and then kicked off to the other team. He also played various line and guard positions for which I don’t know the names. Hey, I’m doing well to pick my own kid out of the lineup. But he’s not the only one. Every single player on our team is bringing it, both ways.
Before the 1950s, it was common for football players to play both offense and defense. Since then, players have been encouraged to perfect their areas of specialization and leave the other positions to their teammates. Now, it’s rare to see players with multiple jobs. That may work for a large 5A team with dozens of players. But it doesn’t usually work in life.
In life, we have to play a solid offense. We have to get a great education. Be kind to others. Work hard. Show respect. We also need to have a strong defense – stay away from trouble, and from troublemakers. Take care of yourself, body, mind and spirit. When we play both ways, we have the best chance at success.
God’s Word serves as a playbook for life. Who knew God was into football? The Old Testament book of Proverbs tells us how to play offense: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; In all your ways submit to God; Bind love and faithfulness, kindness and truth around your neck; Honor the Lord with your wealth; Find wisdom; Gain understanding; Fear the Lord; Shun evil; Preserve sound judgment and discretion.
It also coaches an incredible defense: Do not forget God’s teaching; Don’t let love and faithfulness leave you; Don’t be wise in your own eyes; Don’t reject God’s discipline; Don’t let wisdom and understanding out of your sight; Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due; Don’t hurt others; Don’t accuse others for no reason; Don’t envy the ungodly.
I’ve noticed, as I’ve watched each of the games this season, our players don’t have to figure things out on their own. Each down, each play is masterfully coached by wise, caring men who know the game well. As we play this game called life, we need only look to our Coach. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and to direct our steps for the ultimate win.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.