Sunday, November 14, 2010

Football Was Fun

Y's Junior football season ended on a chilly fall evening. The JV team suffered it's first loss of the season. The Varsity team earned a spot at the state tournament. It was a good season, yet at times - a hard season.
Y entered the ball game on what would be the last offensive series. He did his part, although no passes were attempted his direction. The game ended. His season ended.
Reflective, he said "Football was fun."
"You playing next year?" I hopefully asked.
A peaceful grin emerged.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Some Moments Of Glory

For a mom, it doesn’t get any better than this! I can say with absolute surety that was the best night of 2010 so far. It will be hard to beat. The Varsity head coach made arrangements for a game in a small nearby town. All of the kids who rarely played were invited to go - Y included. He was excited for an opportunity to play; we were excited to see him.
As parents, we weren’t the only ones. Sitting with us in the stands, were Grandma (Grandpa was herding cattle), uncles and some cousins chatting about where did #20 go, during the fast moving plays. It was a thrill.
Y played almost every down of the entire game. He looked good. There were definitely some moments of glory and some key coverage at a defensive position he rarely even plays in practice. He looked good, strong, coordinated, and steady throughout an atypically long 3 and a half hour game.
He took the bus home. W and I chatted incessantly all the way home about how good he looked, how much potential he has, and the fact that it’s too bad he was 5’1” and 80 pounds as a freshman, delaying his debut on the football field.
Y came home a little while later. W was retrieving the 4Runner which broke down at the high school a couple of days earlier. Y and I chatted about the game. He didn’t seem so happy. I couldn’t understand why. It’s true; there were no catches for him at wide receiver. He had a couple of opportunities to intercept on defense, and he batted it down instead, but all in all, he played great.
The Grandma sitting next to me, there to see #28, turned to me at one point, and said: “He (Y) has saved the scoring touchdown five times!” One time he was being blocked by the opposing wide receiver. The QB for the other team had scrambled through our entire defense. We had blitzed, leaving Y with solo coverage and what turned out to be the last line of defense. I held my breath as he was still tangled up with the opposing wide receiver. Then, as if in slow motion, he freed himself and made the saving tackle. Not only did this tackle save the score, but it secured the win as we were only up by 4. A couple of downs later, the game ended. Our team huddled and chanted on the sideline and I took great delight in it all!
And yet- Y seemed a little down. This took me back to my thoughts after the last game, wondering what he sees in himself and his future potential. We interrupted game chat to read scriptures and get a very sleepy little sister off to bed. Y still seemed “off”. Then he mentioned he hadn’t had time to eat the snack I packed him because the bus had a no food rule. “You must be starving!” I said in amazement as I jumped up and headed for the kitchen. “Tacos or orange chicken and rice?”
As he munched on his piled high plate of nachos and drank a Gatorade, his demeanor lightened. His dad finally returned from the 4Runner errand and joined in the game chat as well. Y surveyed his scratches, scrapes, bruises, bumps and aches and pains. He walked like he was eighty. It was awesome! We moved our chat to a soothing hot tub, and minutes later, all seemed well. His tummy was full; he had the support and attention of both parents reminding him of all the great plays where he had done his part.
I reflected on the scripture we had discussed. It reminded us to seek not earthly treasures, but rather heavenly ones. And yet- how easy it was to take such delight in this earthly treasure- of football. Y and I chatted about how you just need to serve always, keep your covenants, and if the Lord decides to bless you with earthly treasures- pay it forward.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"When You Gain Self-Respect, No One Can Take That"

An excerpt from Y’s family prayer last night:
“...We are thankful we could all watch the football game tonight...”
Yes- we all watched. Even Y – although he did get 5 quick downs at the end, once again our team with a commanding lead.
So he seems to be handling this “trial” with humor.
He is taking a psychology class this semester. The teacher asked for a volunteer with strong self esteem. No one volunteered. A classmate volunteered Y and he concurred that he would cooperate. The teacher called him a “feeble minded meathead”.
Y responded “Right back at ya!!!” The teacher was taken off guard and had a difficult time proving his point. He was trying to communicate that if we hear enough negativity about ourselves we begin to believe it.
This forced a discussion. I asked Y. Do you let negative things people say about you “in”?
He said “No!”
“Why not?” I followed
“Just don’t.” he quipped.
I wasn’t that strong as a teenager- not even close. I look at how valuable a tool that is when you are in a tough situation as he is now.
We reflected back to a talk he gave in church when he was thirteen. I remember he struggled to write it. The subject was “I am a Son of God.” I thought it should be easy for him. It wasn’t. After lots of praying for help, I think he gained a greater understanding and belief that he is a son of God. I’ve enclosed an excerpt from his talk:
“At 6 foot 6, from North Carolina, Michael Jordan is in my opinion; actually I call it a fact, the best basketball player on the face of the earth. I can learn a lot about basketball from him, but, I also learned a few things from reading his book, For the Love of the Game. He says, “I think my father saw some things in me that I couldn’t see in myself.” When I read that, I thought of my Father in Heaven and I realized that I need to learn more about who I am as a son of God, and what my purpose in life is. Michael Jordan also said “I had self- respect, and nothing any one ever could do to me, or say about me, could change that.” That is also true in this earth life. Sometimes people don’t treat me with respect. But I need to learn as Michael Jordan did that when you gain self -respect no one can take that.”
I can see Y’s progress over the past several years. I still think both his earthly and Heavenly parents see more in him than he has yet seen in himself. Its okay- still room for growth. But perhaps what allows him to go forth in good humor and faith is his sound self-respect.
We talked last night about his new love for the game of football. He expressed a desire to play in college.
“What about basketball?” I asked.
“Uh- I wanna play both!”
I hope and pray he does see his potential – that these are not just empty desires. And, that he remembers and relies on what he has faith in, because, with the Lord on your side- Anything is possible. . .