In a week the Super Bowl be playing in New Orleans. I may be in a minority here, but I don’t care much for the super bowl. Even though the commercials are a bit entertaining, I find the game rather boring.
The regular season, on the other hand, that is what counts for me. Watching how the players react to adverse situations, and seeing who has character and who does not, that is the game of football. You can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way that they react to a penalty call or a close game that was lost.
My love for this part of the game came about in recent years. Actually within the last thirteen years.
I never really enjoyed football until 2001. That was the year my son, Daniel, joined the junior high football team. He then played football for the next six years. There were two seasons when his playing time was restricted, due to broken bones, during his high school years, but even during those two seasons he was on the sideline enjoying every Friday night game.
When he started playing football I knew nothing about the game. I went to the games, and I enjoyed watching Daniel play, but when you don’t know the game you can’t enjoy the game like you should.
One day when I was speaking with my dad on the phone, and I was sharing how I enjoyed watching Daniel play, but I really didn’t understand the game. I couldn’t understand why other parents were getting so upset with various calls.
When I was done talking dad simply said,
“Learn the game.”
At this point I started listening. When dad spoke like this, listening was not an option. He went on to say,
“There may come a time when you two will not be able to talk about anything else, but you will be able to talk football if you take the time to learn. Common ground is important in life. Right now you are establishing that common ground, and who knows you might learn something that you can apply to yourself. Don’t pass this opportunity up. Do you understand?”
I did understand, and I began to take the time to understand the basics of the game. In time I developed my own life playbook with football principles I learned during those 6 years while watching my son play.
Over the last few days I had to pull my playbook out so I could refresh my memory. It seems that the game I have been playing lately had become a bit intense, and my memory concerning the rules were fuzzy. I needed to see the rules again. It was time for a quick refresher course.
I only have 10 plays in my book, but they are efficient and affective.
1. Life, like football, is a team effort, and you need your whole team. Never isolate yourself.
2. A good coach will help you go far, if you listen.
Take the time to listen to close friends, those few people who have become trusted advisors. They are your coaches.
3. A solid defense is just as important as a solid offense, develop both.
In developing a solid defense the chances of being blind-sighted by life is not as great.
4. Ignore your critics. Never take to heart their criticism. No matter how well you do in life someone will criticize. Let it go.
5. Sometimes opposing teams will cheat, play the game with honor anyway.
I have never been able to figure out who said this but it is a good quote anyway. “If you have to become like your enemy to defeat them what have you gained?” Be honorable in all the decisions that are made in life.
6. Leave it all on the field, one game at a time.
In life, take one day at a time, no more than that. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is still being formed. Don’t pre-form tomorrow today. Just focus on today.
7. Never regret your performance; never regret your commitment to the game.
A life filled with regret is no life at all.
8. Play through the pain, sometimes there is pain.
Whether that pain is physical, emotional, spiritual, relational or all of the above, press on.
9. Enjoy the wins, and learn from the losses. They both will come.
10. Enjoy the game while you are in it. Playing time can be cut short at any time. Play to win, but also have fun in the process.
Over the last two weeks I had given up. I was wallowing in self-pity and acting like a victim. Luckily I wasn’t stiff-armed by those around me, (I’m pretty sure there were a couple of people that wanted to do that though) that might have hurt.
This morning I decided to stop acting so pitiful. I decided to dig out “my playbook” and apply the rules that I had developed and learned. I started by calling one of my trusted advisors.
In about a week the super bowl will be played, and I will be watching. Maybe not enjoying the game as much as a regular season game, but I will watch. In the end it will be interesting to see how the losing team responds to the loss, and we will all see their true team character, and whether their playbook was enough.