Goodness Gracious

Are you ready for some football? This week our local high schools take the field and many college teams will get after it on Saturday. Recently I read that on the eighth day, God said, “Let there be football,” and it was good. Later that day, God said, “Let there be one team to rule the others and set the standard for excellence.” And immediately after speaking these words the TIDE began to rise and the waves began to ROLL in… I better stop and say no more.

Needless to say, I love the game of football. Though I was never very good as a player, I’ve always enjoyed the game and even worked as a High School Official for several years in my younger days. I could write a book on the life lessons I’ve learned from playing and officiating football. However instead of a book, I’ll just share a couple of thoughts.

First, I’ve always been impressed with great teams more than great athletes. It’s interesting to me that most winning coaches emphasize that individuals can win trophies, but teams win championships. There’s an old adage that there’s no “I” in team. All of us are a part of one team or another. Many of us play on several teams at one time – the family team, the team at work, the team at church. The more devoted we are to our team, the more awesome the wins in our life will be.

The second thought comes from my experiences of officiating games. It has always been interesting to me how a close game can be won or lost by an inch. Now not everyone is a football fan, so let me explain this. A team has four tries to move the ball ten yards. If they succeed, they get a “first down” and they get four more plays. If they fail, they have to turn the ball over to the other team at that point on the field. Many times it’s impossible to tell with the naked eye if the ball has made it those ten yards, because it’s very close. So they call out the chain gang. They come trotting out, they extend the chain to its full length, and then they set it down. If it extends beyond the ball, the team falls short. If it falls short, the team has succeeded. And as many who have played or watched football know, winning or losing a game can literally be a matter of inches. Several times I’ve witnessed a first down made by a fraction of an inch which shifted the momentum of a game, turning what seemed to be a sure loss into an unforgettable win!

Yes, I enjoy the game of football, but even more I enjoy great teams, teams that make winning look easy. I’ve always been inspired by great family teams, work teams and church teams. There’s an acronym for team, Together Everyone Accomplishes More. I truly believe that and I share it with others as often as I can. I’ve also been inspired by people who give everything they’ve got to take one more step or gain one more inch in order to “move the chains.” People who press through life’s obstacles and refuse to go down inspire their teammates. They “move the chains” for their entire team. Is there anything better than a fresh set of downs in life? Goodness Gracious what a difference an inch can make!

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