Tonight, at practice while watching my son play with the players, I had a flashback.
I was taken back to when I was a little girl and one of my first football memories. It was with one of my favorite players, Big Ben.
He was a 6’5” 300-pound offensive lineman my dad coached. I loved Big Ben. I don’t remember much, but what I do remember a few things.
I remember crying when he had to be taken off the field. I thought he was hurt, but he was never hurt; just worn out from getting up/down and blocking in a 3-point stance as a lineman.
I remember how he greeted me and my mother after games. It was like we were his family, and to me, he was my big brother. He would always put me on his shoulders and carry me off to the locker room after every game, no matter how tired or worn out he was.
Lastly, I remember his smile. It was a grin from ear to ear. He loved children. My dad would take him around to all the elementary schools in the district and promote health and wellness. Big Ben would lift weights as a demonstration of healthy activity.
Looking back, I wouldn’t trade that memory for anything else. It means the world to me.
I can only hope that my little boy has many just like it. Although, he is an only child right now; he has 50-100 new big brothers every fall—people that will look out for him, and love him as Big Ben loved me.
And isn’t that the point—to love those around you.
Coaching is a ministry, even if you don’t see it that way. It is one special way of teaching others how to love.
Our head coach’s favorite quote is, “Love Equals Sacrifice.” Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice for us when he died on the cross. We must also learn to sacrifice different things to show Christ’s love to others.
My Dad sacrificed time with his own children to help raise others, but what I hope he knows is that I and my sister were watching and learning how important it is to love those around you and show that love through action.
My son is learning that, too, by watching his own dad and mom give to our coaching ministry just like my father and mother did when I was young.
So Big Ben, if you are reading this, thank you for showing Christ’s love to me. Your kindness and love will hold a special place in my memory.