My husband has been my husband for less than 90 days, however, he has been a football coach for seventeen years. (Some of those seasons covering multiple teams, over varied seasons.)
He has coached at many levels, ranging from stepping up with one of my kids and coaching 2nd-3rd grade, then 4th-5th grade all the way through semi-pro (age 18 and over). Throughout his coaching history, he has experienced bad seasons, where the scores did not end up the way they would like. Throughout that same history, he has also amassed 6 rings (he thinks) for Championships, All-Star Head Coach, Head Coach of the Year, and other various honors within the leagues that the teams were in.
The semi-pro teams in our area have a special type of magic, all their own. These teams are made up of men from all walks of life, of varying skill sets.
One of my favorite activities is sitting in the parking lot, watching the team roll in for practice. Some guys are dropped off by friends or family. Others drive-in in cars that I am not sure how they are possibly still running. A few players show up to games in their brand new, fully loaded vehicles. At first glance, they do not look like they belong together.
We have had many laughs over who participates in these teams. They are men with day jobs, mortgages, adult responsibility. They play this game (some well into their 40’s) simply for the love of the game. Many players have criminal records. The take their place on the line next to a parole officer. Outside of the football field, they would not have a reason to be friends. On the turf, they are more than that.
Most of the players have experience in high school, some college or other areas.
f the players are nothing short of great, and I find myself wondering what life circumstances kept them from playing on the big stage.
Some of these players have played in the NFL, or have been invited to try out. Others have moved on to play in other areas, such as the Canadian Football League and various indoor arena leagues.
There are a few who have never played until they signed up with the team.
These guys and some others may not be so great.
I have asked my husband about the guys who are not so great. Why does he keep them on the roster? Why does he put them in the game?
His answer, as usual, stopped me cold and made me think, “Sometimes these guys need football more than football needs them. For some of them, they need it more than we can understand.”
I did not know how to respond. He has been building teams, really good teams, for years. Not from great talent, but from love.
There is something special in people who can see what other’s need, to see that they are able to help and to be willing to do so.
What if we all approached life from that vantage point? Not looking at what people can do for us, but what those people really need?
It’s very a very JFK way of thinking, to ask not what others can do for you, but what you can do for others.
These people who have “needed” something have almost ALWAYS proven themselves on the gridiron. It is not an imbalance of need, but one that when approached a little differently can build great things.