Column Post by Kelly Heuer
I got to watch my Pancake Man play his championship game for spring league football. My voice is hoarse now from all the screaming, groaning, and outrage. The highlight of the game, of course, was when my giant offensive lineman son jumped up and caught an onside kick. He hauled it in, broke a tackle, ran for 10 yards, broke another tackle, and then ran for five more before he was brought down. I was on my feet screaming and choking back tears of pride. That’s my boy! That’s MY Pancake Man!
But even that wasn’t as magnificent as the real power struggle on the field; and it had nothing to do with ball, pads, cleats, tackles, or end zones.
The other team is notorious for poor sportsmanship. From the stands to the coaches to the players, win at all costs seems to be the chant. “Win! Win! Win!” is only overpowered by “Humiliate! Humiliate! Humiliate!” You can imagine how hard that is to deal with as an opposing team parent.
To the cheers of their coaches and parents, these boys took cheap shots in the pile and behind the refs’ backs. Their parents occasionally came to our side of the stands to taunt us. The coaches gloated in a most unseemly manner. It’s a hard atmosphere when our boys win, and even harder when they lose.
As the game went on, I sat in the stands and watched a lesson eloquently played out for all who cared to learn. Every time a ref called a ludicrous foul on our boys and moved the ball, our boys silently moved with it. Every time a horrible personal foul was committed against one of ours, they just marched back to the line regardless of whether the ref called it. Every time a foul was called on the opposing team and the ball was moved, our boys silently lined up. Every taunt, every jeer, was met with silence. Each time one of ours knocked down one of theirs, our boy helped the other to his feet. With only one exception, whenever there was a reason to fight, our boys didn’t engage.
What did my Pancake Man do when he made his spectacular play? He ran to the sidelines and hugged his coach. He didn’t thump his chest or strut around. He hugged his coach and raced back onto the field. The Pancake Man isn’t unique on his team. They all just smiled and moved back to the line when they did well. These boys and their coaches showed us all what integrity and honor look like. They’ve been showing us all season.
As the message our boys sent us sunk into my brain, I had to stop and think, “When I do well, do I thump my chest in pride or do I run to the sidelines and thank God for teaching me how?” I’m going to be pondering this lesson for quite some time.
P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts; be sure to share in the comments section below. This month we will draw TEN winners from our commenters and the winners will receive one of these two books, Hope for a Hurting Heart or To Let You Know I Care by our featured author this month, Cheryl Karpen.
Kelly Heuer resides in Idaho and asserts that she is foremost a wife to her best friend and hero. Five children (plus a few extras) call her Mami, and she considers being a wife and mother to be her most important job and ministry. She is her church’s Music/AV Coordinator and serves as a song leader among other roles as needed. A missionary kid, Kelly lived in the Dominican Republic for 14 years learning to read and translate legal documents in both Spanish and English. She says one of the most important revelations of her time there was learning the value of writing in alleviating the pain of both internal and external struggles. She says while others might describe her as a survivor, she calls herself a fighter, a thriver, a winner. Kelly’s heart is to help women worldwide to go beyond survival and be freed to never again fear enslavement.
Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)