Each day he comes home and tells us every detail of football practice. Sometimes these talks go on for hours.
He trained all summer in 100-degree heat on his own, as well as at school.
The summer before last, he decided he wanted to be faster, for football, of course. He gave up McDonald’s fries and soda and a few other things and lost 20 pounds that summer and continues to fuel his body better, for football, of course.
Last summer he decided he wanted to be stronger, for football, of course. He lifted all summer and pushed himself beyond his beliefs. He got stronger last summer, for football, of course.
He found passion for the game of football early on at age 6.
To this day he sleeps with two footballs. I guess one is backup when he misses a catch, at night in bed, as he lays there and tosses the ball to the ceiling a thousand times before going to sleep.
This kid breathes and sweats football. Every single day. I even found an old play book he wrote when he was 9. He still writes plays sometimes.
My story about his dedication and passion for football are a preface to today and where his story continues.
High School football has been the next big, anticipated thing he has been focused on, the next step in his journey.
It was the week before the first game and our first scrimmage of the year. It was Friday night lights and the purple and white flags flew high. He pulled on those pads, helmet, and cleats and was ready.
He has tried to explain to me what it feels like to walk out on that field on game day and how his heart beats during a game. He claims he hears nothing other than the coaches, his team, and the “pop” of pads hitting on great tackles. His eyes light up when he describes this to me.
The kid is up on defense at the start of this night. After a few plays in and a pretty tackle, he comes out of the game with pain in his arm and wrist. He is out of the game before he gets to try those new offense skills that he worked on all summer long.
We end up going for x-rays, and sure enough, it is a fracture. Thank the Lord the growth plate was not damaged. He is out of football, stuck on the sidelines, for four to six weeks.
As a mother who has watched her child practice, workout, sweat, push, and talk about football all the time, it is heart breaking. We have talked about this season for so long.
The kid is strong, stronger than me. He tells me that it is only a few weeks and he will be back on that field. My ten-year-old daughter tells me, “Mama, you know this is God’s plan. There is a reason this happened.”
Sometimes I wish I did not pump my kids full of so much of the good, positive stuff. I want to be sad and have my little pity party, but they are both right. We know that God controls all things. This fracture is part of God’s plan.
I take a few minutes to question the situation. (Forgive me Lord for questioning your plan.) Why did this happen now? This kid has been to urgent care a million times and never broke a bone. Why now? We have waited for this season for so long. He has trained since March for this season. Why did this happen the very first time he set his foot on that football field as a high school athlete?
Lately, I have been writing a lot about focus, or maybe our lack of focus in this world. Our world is troubled and torn and it can be fixed with focus, the right kind of focus, laser sight, 100%, dedicated focus on God. As much as I am trying to focus on God lately, maybe I still have too many idols in my life. Maybe we give too much attention to football? All the conversations, the workouts, the trying so hard, all for football, of course?
Maybe my focus, or my family’s focus, is in the wrong order.
Maybe the first conversation right after school needs to be what did Jesus do for you today instead of how was football practice?
Or maybe the extra set of weights or cardio needs to be about caring for the temple that God has given us. The temple we are to take care of so that we can go and do God’s work, whatever God calls us to do.
Maybe as a parent I need to ask him if he read his Bible, instead of asking him if he studied his football plays?
We are individually unique with different gifts from God. This kid was given the gift of athleticism. I know God has plans to use him, someday, somewhere. But maybe equipping him spiritually is way more important than physically.
Another realization comes to me this day after the injury, I am reminded that God gives and takes away. There are so many things in life that can come and go. Football can come and go. But there is one thing that is consistent and never goes away, God! He is always there for us!
I am going to try my best to focus, the kind of focus we were created for in Christ. I will focus on Christ first, then football, of course.