My dad (Pop) was a High School Football Coach for most of my life. When I was younger, I loved going with him to practices and ball games. I loved riding on the team bus and hanging out in the locker room and coach’s office. I got to be the Ball Boy at games and thought it was cool to be able to run on and off the field with the game ball.
This is my second football season without my dad. He died on Christmas Eve, 2017. I think about him a lot this time of year. There are so many things I would love to talk to him about and so many games I would love to watch with him.
Instead, I recall the things I learned from my Football Coach Dad. He was a Coach on and off the field, 24/7, and he taught me some valuable life lessons.
One lesson Pop taught me is Failure is part of life. In fact, if you’re not failing, you’re probably not trying. It is important to use failure as a tool to teach you, not a disaster that defeats you. Pop taught me to learn from my mistakes and then get back up and try again with that newfound knowledge.
In Proverbs 24:6, we read, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.”
One Friday night, when I was Senior, I was playing both offense and defense. I was worn out. After getting tackled hard on one particular play, I was lying on my back, trying to catch my breath. I was hurt. I was tired, and I was taking advantage of the little break between plays. Then I heard a voice above the roar of the fans, the cheering of the cheerleaders, and the music from the band. It was the voice of my dad yelling, “Get up boy, you’re killing the grass!” My break was over.
Pop’s rather unique way of encouraging me was what I needed to get myself off the ground, back in the huddle, and prepared for the next play.
As the summer winds down and you are preparing for fall and all the season brings, maybe you are feeling like you have been playing both offense and defense. Maybe you feel like you have been tackled hard by life and need a little break. Maybe you have been tackled so many times that you don’t think you can get back up again. Maybe worse, you wonder if it’s even worth getting back up.
It’s worth it. You can do it. Your team needs you. And you have a Coach who loves you and truly wants you to win in life. His name is Jesus. He is cheering you on from the sideline with these words, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33 NLT)
Get up. Get ready for the next play. Listen to your Coach. He has given you the victory.