I may have mentioned a time or seven that I’m football illiterate. It’s not so much that I don’t have the capacity for understanding the game – I just have an aversion to what seem to be arbitrary rules. Block in the back? I don’t see the problem. On side kick? Shouldn’t be allowed. Holding? Get the guy off you! Punch him in the face or something.
But there’s probably a rule against that, too.
Until this year, I’ve been rebellious in trying to understand all the Man Wisdom. However, in an attempt to learn my husband’s love language I’m making an all out effort to master the lingo. Take this for instance – Luke just taught me that you can’t tackle a receiver if he’s already run more than 5 yards. Though from the looks of the play the receiver can run all over the tackling guy and get the tackling guy in trouble even though the receiver is the one who did it. So I will add to the list of Things to Remember About Football: Defense must stand back and let the Offense catch the ball. Good grief, even help him do it if possible. Then and only then may he be brought down in the gentlest of ways and from the most proper of angles.
With all that said, I may have also shared at some point that our high school football team has struggled for the past several years. If you’ll allow me to postulate, I’ve concluded each group is made up of guys not unlike multiple children within a family. There’s the Brainy One who understands all the plays on paper but has to work twice as hard to make them translate to the field. There’s the Teachable One who makes up in hard work what he lacks in talent. Unfortunately there is the Lazy One who wants full glory for half effort; however, he’s not to be factored because he typically quits when he doesn’t get the turf time he thinks he deserves. And rarely, there’s the Natural who is running sprints weeks before practice starts while his friends are playing XBox and eating Doritos. A team is defined not by the ratio of one type of player to the other but by how much heart each one brings to the field. But sometimes that isn’t even enough to put up a winning score. The truth is, no one can predict when the magic will happen – you just do the job, wait faithfully, and rejoice when it does.
And the magic? It’s happening now.
For the first time in 11 years, our team is 2-0 for the season. The first victory was against an arch rival whom we have not beaten in 8 years. The second was an enormous region game against a team ranked 2nd in our area. (We were picked 6th.) The first win netted the boys Team of the Week and Player of the Week. The resulting Pep Rally is now nominated as Pep Rally of the Week. (My nerves can’t take another contest!) So, as much as I don’t understand the game, it has been pure joy to experience. The stands tremble every week with cheers for one unbelievable play after another. My bff Kim and I actually busted blood vessels in our hands from clapping so hard Friday. Love hurts, baby.
Love is also fickle. The record is no accident but the result of a coaching staff who persevered through the ranting of merciless critics while they patiently built a program and developed athletes whose weaknesses are overcome by one other’s strengths. And what? Critics, I can’t hear you? Could it be because the crowds are drowning you out or are you are cheering now, too?
Boys, I don’t know if you can fully appreciate the gift you’ve given to your Coaches, your Parents, your Town, your FANS for crying out loud! Not because you are winning but because you are winners. You’ve made this girl look forward to Friday nights.
Whether she comprehends what she’s seeing or not.
(Team Prayer after Region Victory. It slayed me.)