***** Friday Night Update: WE HAMMERED THEM!!! Us 34 Them 7 !!! *****
I’ll never forget being glued to the television set during the coverage of Hurricane Katrina. One interview that marked me forever was of a man fresh off of one of the buses that transported those made homeless to safe shelter. He literally walked down the steps and straight into a cameraman who asked, “Sir, how do you feel right now?” The man answered in a single word: “Overdue.” He went on to explain that he hadn’t eaten, hadn’t showered, hadn’t shaved, hadn’t slept in days. He said again, “I’m overdue for everything.” And then he burst into tears.
I’m in no way suggesting what I am about to tell you dare rivals the seriousness of the experiences of Katrina’s victims. However; in concept only, our high school football team knows what it feels like to be overdue. To want desperately to finally take hold of the wins that have eluded them season after season. To catch one stinkin’ break. And they aren’t the only ones who have waited. Year after year our community has poured into the stadium for the opening game to see how the team will perform. Unsurprisingly, only the faithful who support the organization and its players rather than dwell on the scores have stuck around through Game 10 as our last two years’ records have settled at 3-7.
The past few years also haven’t been easy ones for our young coach who has quietly and patiently been building a program while scoffers ranted over the numbers on the board. I’ve often told his adorable wife that being married to a coach and married to a preacher aren’t altogether different. When people are joining, teams are winning, tithes are rolling in, fans are attending, then everyone is your best friend. When numbers and morale are down, it’s best to keep U-Haul on standby. Such is the fickle nature of people and yet, when you are in any type of leadership position you learn to accept it for what it is and keep your shoulder to the sled until the Lord sees fit to place you in another field.
So, yes. We’ve been overdue. Overdue for victory. Overdue for respect. Overdue for the payoff that hard work is supposed to afford. Overdue for everything.
That’s why it has been such a sweet time to experience along with this team their win as Region Champions for the first time in 29 years!
DID YOU EVEN SEE THAT COMING?
My husband has the supreme privilege of serving as the chaplain for this fabulous team whom he has grown to love as brothers and sons. Something Luke shared with them is a truth we can all remember: “Faith without works is dead.” It’s not enough just to want to win – you have to work to win. These coaches and players have done just that and are reaping the rewards of faithfulness. Most impressive to me is that these kids are not just learning how to be excellent football players. We are blessed to have a coaching staff more interested in making them excellent men. And hey, if we happen to go 9-1 while they do it, we’ll take that too.
Friday night we will play our first round state play off game and to say the town is abuzz is a colossal understatement. It’s truly a great moment to live in my tiny city and I’m praying the thrill and sentimentality of it isn’t lost anytime soon. The boys have had a saying this year that the community has adopted as a rebel yell: “It’s Hammer Time!” There couldn’t be a motto any more appropriate because there comes a day for all of us when it’s high time we go from being the smashed to the smasher.
Which begs the question, my homies and invisible friends alike:
WHAT TIME IS IT!?
If you know the answer and would like to cheer the team on, feel free to YELL IT IN THE COMMENTS!