Football Returns: What the GameTeaches About Life and Fatherhood

But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field, defended it, and struck down the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. 

– 2 Samuel 23:12

For football fans, this time of the year is like Christmas. In a lot of ways, it’s better than Christmas. We get to unwrap a new present every Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday (and, at times, Tuesday, as well) from now until early in February.

I love the game of football. And not only for the 4th-quarter comebacks, the electrifying special teams plays, the quarterback sacks, or the one-handed catches. I believe that football teaches valuable lessons about life. Note the following:

Football is reality.
Football was doing reality TV before anyone had ever heard of Survivor or Man vs. Wild. Every week, someone’s position, scholarship, or job is on the line. And every week, your team’s spot in the standings is on the line, and one or two plays is the difference between the Orange Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl (no offense to the good people at Meineke).

Football requires people with specialized skills. 
Wide receivers don’t play on the offensive line. Linemen don’t run routes and catch passes. But success in the game requires each and every person on the field. Just as in football, we all have special skills that we use to accomplish our goals. Not everyone has the desire or skill set to be doctors, lawyers, or beauticians. Fortunately, we don’t have to be great at everything to be loving, effective dads, but there may be times when we need to surround ourselves with people who complement our weaknesses.

Football teaches about dealing with adversity. 
Each and every play in football is a lesson is adversity. One team has a goal, and there are 11 other full-grown men standing in their way with their own goal of stopping them. After every fumble, interception, dropped pass, or missed tackle, the responsible player has to choose how he will respond when he returns to the field. As parents, as employees, as spouses – in every role we play – we must decide how we respond when adversity strikes.

Football teaches about dealing with success.
For every fumble and interception lost, there are probably a dozen obnoxious touchdown dances. I love the expression, “Act like you’ve been there” as a response to success, and it’s something I try to teach the youngsters I coach. As surely as the previous play showed us the thrill of success, the next one can bring us back down to the frustration of adversity.

These are the reasons, among others, that I’ve chosen to center this ministry around sports. Athletes deal with the same kinds of thing as “regular” people every time they step on the field, court, etc. While the athletes themselves are not always the best role models either for dads or our kids, we can learn from the good and the bad that we see.

NCAA Football – Week 2

After some exciting storylines and matchups in the opening week, week 2 will highlight some big conference games, most notably the conference openers for new SEC members Missouri and Texas A&M. The week begins tonight with Pittsburgh opening Big East play at Cincinnati. The Panthers will have to rebound from a week 1 loss to FCS Youngstown State. No matchups between nationally ranked teams this week, as a great deal of the top 25 will host FCS teams.

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Pitt comes close on the road, but can’t rebound from the loss to YSU on the road.
Cincinnati – 27,  Pitt – 23

#9 Georgia @ Missouri
A tough road contest for the Bulldogs. Missouri’s home crowd should be stoked for the Tigers’ SEC opener, but Aaron Murray leads the Dawgs to a win.
Georgia – 31, Missouri – 17

#24 Florida @ Texas A&M 
Florida gets a bad draw, playing in A&M’s season and SEC opener in one of the toughest stadiums in football.
A&M – 26, Florida – 20

Miami (FL) @ #21 Kansas State
With an 11:00 a.m. kickoff, the Hurricanes should turn in the first upset of week 2.
Miami – 37, KSU – 34

Washington @ #3 LSU
The Husky coaches brought a caged live tiger to practice this week to simulate conditions against LSU’s Tigers. Eleven tigers on the field with the starting offense would have been a more accurate simulation.
LSU – 44, Washington 23

Please leave your  predictions and other comments!

One comment

  1. Clark Smith says:

    Keep up the good work, Mark. Long Live Pigskin.

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