From the Hills: Another Season of Football

By Sylvia Peterson
Posted 9/27/22

It’s football season — again. Yes, already.   

Before summer is even over, all the football teams have emerged from weight rooms like butterflies from their chrysalis. …

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From the Hills: Another Season of Football

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It’s football season — again. Yes, already.   

Before summer is even over, all the football teams have emerged from weight rooms like butterflies from their chrysalis. Players are showing off their new moves. Coaches are finalizing their rosters and strategies. Fans are purchasing shirts, hats, towels, anything with their favorite team’s logo.  

Being a fairly experienced wife, I was forced to succumb to the football craze a long time ago. In the early years of marriage I fought for time with my husband on weekends. Eventually I gave up. Now when the pre-season games begin, I say goodbye to his attention and plan the menus.  (Apparently college games and professional games must be watched with different foods.)      

For those who are football challenged, the entire point is to move the ball into the end zone more times than the other team. All the timeouts, penalties, plays, statistics, commentary, and tasteful celebratory dances are just side issues. Get the ball to the end zone.

There are setbacks along the way. Evil forces fight against your team. Spectacular tackles drop 300-pound men to the ground. Plays fail. The ball is ripped from a player’s hand and carried in the opposite direction. Passes miss their intended receivers. Worse yet, they are sometimes caught by the “other guys.”  

But the point is always the same — get to the end zone and win.

As Christians, we can learn a lot from football. We too need to be focused on the end zone. Our eternity depends on our faithful march up the field of faith. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life.”  (1 Tim 6:11–12)  

So how is our race similar to football?

To get to the end zone takes years of dedication. We learn our plays by studying scripture. In church, our coach reminds us of the game plan and inspires us to practice even harder. The best players follow the directions of a talented coach. They don’t argue. After all, refusing to follow wise counsel can sideline a player for an entire season. 

It’s essential that we not be confused.  

In the 1929 Rose Bowl the teams were Georgia Tech and the University of California. The game was scoreless in the second quarter. Then Georgia fumbled the ball. UC recovered, but in the confusion of being shoved, tackled and grabbed, their player started sprinting toward the wrong end zone. If it wasn’t for one of his own teammates who ran him down at the 1-yard line, “Wrong Way Reigels” would have scored for the opponent. 

It’s essential that we pay attention, even in moments of confusion. 



When a teammate makes a critical mistake, even one that results in a loss of yards, he is not expelled from the locker room. Everyone makes mistakes. No team would reach the championship if players hadn’t learned to extend forgiveness to one another.  

Christians need to do the same.

If you’re going to reach the end zone, it’s important to follow the biggest, most experienced players. Know when to stay behind those who are assigned the job of protecting you. Find a believer who is stronger and has played the game longer than you have. That’s what discipleship is all about.

No one reaches the end zone by themselves. Different players carry the ball at various times, but the team is what makes it possible. Whenever a skilled player reaches the end zone, the entire team celebrates.

And remember, the eternity coach is delighted when families yell “pick six. Pick six.” in unison.    

Go Hawks.  

•••

Sylvia Peterson is former co-pastor for Bald Hill Community Church and the author of “The Red Door: Where Hurt and Holiness Collide,” which can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. She and her husband are chaplains for the Bald Hills Fire Department. You can email her at sylviap7@comcast.net.



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