Faith, Family, Journal

With Football Season in Limbo, This Is What Calms My Soul

These have been strange days—beautifully strange days.

Several nights ago, my husband needed to tweak a setting with the sprinklers at the field, so we decided to go as a family on a walk, my daughter and I, around the stadium. The first several laps around the track I felt like I was in an episode of Friday Night Lights where a select few meet at the field if something big is occurring in their lives.

I recalled one of the first episodes when Matt Saracen is preparing to take on the role of QB1 after Jason Street’s injury. Coach Taylor doubts that Matt is ready, so he takes Matt to the field where he blasts a recording of the sounds heard during a game over the loud speakers and has Matt call plays above the noise.

As I thought of this scene, I longed to hear those sounds.

We are charged in Romans 8:25 to “wait patiently for what we hope for but do not yet have.” The thought continues in verse 26 with Paul telling us that the “Spirit helps us in our weakness when we do not know what we ought to pray for.”

Good golly at the number of days I have spent during the last couple months not knowing what to pray for. Despite my lack of words, the Lord has met me with the exact measure of grace I need to encourage my husband during this time of uncertainty.

We officially start back to workouts next week, with still no definite about football season, and then today several University of Alabama players have reportedly tested posted for COVID-19.

The “will there be a season” question seemed silly in March because, well, it was March.

But somewhere between the cancellation of Spring football and the news today, the question felt like a weight pressing on my chest.

More so, I have been able to visibly see the strain the question has placed on my husband.

The upcoming season would be my husband’s second year as a head coach. Last season we rebuilt, but we all know “rebuilding” is short lived.

My husband is a coach’s kid and has never known anything other than life with football. In second grade his teacher asked his class to draw a picture of “spring”—he drew a football field. When the teacher questioned him as to what his picture had to do with spring, he replied, “Spring football.” Needless to say, he is struggling.

There have been some not so good days where his stress and fear overwhelm him. Some days he is distant and quiet while other days he works non-stop, in hopes that the busy will drown out the doubt. There have been a roller coaster of emotions and an abundance Zoom calls.

Seeing the kids brings hope because he must stay positive for them. And, honestly, I think it strengthens his relationship with his players. While some nights I feel like my head might spin around if I hear one more conversation about plays, I can’t get enough of the inside jokes and laughter.

I love sneaking a glimpse at our boys on the screen and watching them smile as I wave to them from the kitchen. I watch the game be personal in my dining room, instead of a routine day on the practice field.

When there is a chance you might lose something, you learn to appreciate it more.

Romans 8 is concluded with encouragement from Paul as he assures us that “the Spirit will search our hearts and intercede for us according to God’s will because God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (v.27-28).

For us, football is more than a game; it’s an avenue by which my husband fulfills his purpose. God gave him a unique ability for play calling, but only so He could be glorified.

In verses 31-39, Paul gives the assurance that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (v.31). We are not conquerors only if football returns despite COVID-19. We are more than conquerors because not even the lack of football can “separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v.39).

We are conquerors by how well we wait on the One who allowed the waiting.

Hebrews 11 tells us that “faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

During my walk, I closed my eyes and I could hear the sounds, smell the smells and feel the energy under the Friday night lights—and I am hopeful.