The past few weekends have found me watching a whole lot of football. Some exciting things were happening for teams down here in our parts. My little guy is a huge football fan, and I enjoy seeing his joy, so I’ve picked up watching and rooting for teams again. It brings back happy memories of Sunday afternoons laying on the couch with Daddy kicked back in his recliner, watching the games and not betting on the games because Mama didn’t allow that. (Okay, there may have been a quarter or two that exchanged hands. Shhhh.)
Saturday we watched the Falcons game over at MessCat’s house. Leroy had invited us to join them for the Big game. I’m not sure he knew what he was getting into, because I can get rather vocal in my cheering on of the team of choice. And with the playoffs on the line, I was pretty…..ummm, into it all.
Y’all, I watched my little guy cry real tears when the Patriots came back in the second half of that Super Bowl last year. I’d have loved for the Falcons to have another shot. But they didn’t win on Saturday, so they don’t, and nobody handled it better than my little guy. He just moved on to the next game…..and cheering on anyone playing the Patriots. He’s growing up. And adapting.
I’m a proud Mama.
While we watched the games, I was intrigued by something that seems new to me. When a player caught the ball and landed on the ground, there were several occasions of it being in question as to whether the player had “control” of the ball when he landed.
I mean, is this new?
My brother-in-law explained that they were really cracking down on this this season–that if it didn’t appear that the player had control of the ball, the pass was not complete.
Oh. My. Stars.
I don’t mean to sound old (I mean, yeah, I’m rapidly approaching that state), but back in my day, if they caught the ball and didn’t drop it when they fell, it was complete.
Or at least that’s the way I understood it.
I cannot tell you how many plays we had to sit and wait after while the folks in New York made the call as to whether a player in Philadelphia or Massachusetts actually had control of the ball.
Never mind that the player did not lose the ball when he landed on the hard ground.
It was really, really annoying.
And while I’m not going to argue about the ins and outs of football–I don’t need to know all the intricate details, I leave that to fans like my little fella–I have been chewing on why maybe this has bothered me so much.
And here it is. Way too often in this life, we are hit by something from out of the blue. Something that knocks us for a loop, sends us off track, causes us to lose our way for a moment. And way too often, there are those around us all too ready to have us doubt ourselves and how we are handling things. How well we are hanging on to the good in our life. They would have us thinking that we don’t have a hold on things, no matter what we know to be true.
We didn’t drop the ball.
We are still hanging on.
And we will get back up and carry on.
No matter what those in New York–or anywhere else for that matter–have to say about us.
The other thing that struck me was that each and every person watching had an opinion as to whether the ball had been properly “caught” or not. Usually said opinion had a direct relationship to the person watching’s team preference.
And then it was a couple of days later that this hit me.
Life is a team sport, isn’t it?
For the most part y’all, we don’t do life by ourselves.
We have folks around us, doing this life journey alongside us. Sometimes folks are cheering for us, and other times, sadly way too often, folks are cheering against us. There are times when people we have on our side get traded or retire and we are given new team members. New people to meet and get to know, and soon our stories and journeys are intertwined as we head onto the field together. Some days we win, some days we lose, and all those days in between…..
we learn. We try. We practice. We rest. We sit in the stands and cheer others on. Or help them get down their own field. We revive and restore and then…..
we try to get down the field a little bit more. Together. With the help of those beside us.
A team sport. Where we learn to trust and share and pass the ball when we need help and block the hard things as best we can. And when one of us gets knocked down…..
we reach over and give them a hand up.
I think that has been my favorite part of watching the games, and I didn’t even realize it. That hand that goes out to the player on the ground…..and it’s ALWAYS there. I’ve yet to see someone have to get up off that ground alone. No matter what the situation was that put them there.
Tonight I’m thankful for the ones running along with me and for those cheering me on. I’m thankful for the ones up ahead who have made a way and for the ones coming behind. Most of all, I’m thankful for the ones who sit with me when I’ve been knocked down and offer a hand to pull me back to my feet when I’m ready, all without judging what knocked me down or how I came to be there.
Life is a team sport. I’m going to hold on to that image. For the days I’m feeling knocked down, dragged out. And for the days when those around me need someone to cheer them on or someone to pass the ball to…..or someone to remind them that no ma’am, you did not drop that ball. You hung on to it. And you might be on the ground right now, but you’re okay. And together we’re going to get you back up and on your way.
Look around, y’all. Give your team people squad posse fans coaches fellow players a big ol’ high five. Because you’ve got this. Some days you may run into double overtime and find yourself a touchdown behind, but we’re all going to be okay no matter what the folks in New York say. Because we are together. And if you’re sitting on the bench by yourself right now, don’t stay there. We pick you to be on our team. Come on over. Because we can never have too many folks to count on and share the journey with. There’s no such thing as too many players on the field in this version of the game.
Thanks for playing alongside me. Love to all.