With the first kick-off of the new season, we are once again reminded of what a powerful metaphor the game of football is for life.
Like life, a football field is littered with obstacles designed to prevent us from achieving our goals. For football players, those obstacles come in the form of big burly men trying to knock them down. Yet with each new play, football players look for the holesof opportunity to sneak passed the obstacles to get closer to the goal line. Sometimes they make it easily; most times they get hit along the way.
It reminds us that getting knocked down is part of the game. Sometimes, football players get hit so hard that they need to be carried off the field. We applaud (even for our rivals!) when they get up and eventually get back in the game. Sometimes the crowds cheer; many times they hiss and boo. Professional football players demonstrate how to turn out the noise and focus on the task at hand. Keep that in mind the next time you get heckled by one of your life’s spectators.
My favorite moment in football comes just before the snap of the ball. It is in that moment that everything ispossible. It is in that moment that it doesn’t matter that your team is behind two touchdowns with only 3 minutes left to play. It is in that moment when you can see the hole of opportunity and sail towards the end zone, changing the momentum of the game. The crowd roars, the critics are silenced and the energy in the stadium shifts. Suddenly, everyone believes it is possible for you to win when just 15 seconds ago, everyone thought the game was over.
Every life choice contains the power of that moment. Everything is possible, even when it doesn’t go exactly according to your plan.
Like the best football teams, we must use our defeats as opportunities to learn. Teams that fail to embrace their mistakes show up the following week and repeat them. They blame the referees, injuries, the weather. Eventually, the fans turn on them, reminding them that they are not good enough, and the cycle of no post season games haunts the team.
Review the “tapes” to see where you went wrong, what you could have done better and then they apply what you learned when making your next life choice. The best teams remind us that the key is to stay in the game and believe in the possibility of playing in the Super Bowl… if not this season, then in the next.
Imagine what you can accomplish with each snap of the ball in your own life.