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  • Joni Topper

Lessons from the Football Field – Part One

Attending football games for my young grandson has included many learning moments. He did not live in our home town so we did not know all the other parents and grandparents. We also did not know the players or which parents they belonged to. Although he lived in another small community only twenty-five minutes from our own, it felt like we were far from home during the early years of his football life. Having been a postal worker and a pastor’s wife in the same small town for over two decades, this was a very unfamiliar feeling. Since those first games we have made a whole new world of friends. In the beginning however, we found ourselves observing facets of the game which we might have missed had we been visiting with familiar friends.

My six-year-old grandson Rowdy was more interested in who came to see him play football than he was the actual game. When we missed a game, I called him. His sweet voice on the phone explained his team had won and he had played both offense and defense. I questioned, “Rowdy do you know if you are playing offense or defense when you score?”. He said, “I think you are playing defense when you score”. I told him “No, when you score you are playing offense” feeling proud that I could actually talk football with this aspiring athlete. I asked if he had made a good tackle yet and he responded, “No I have not made a tackle at all”. He did not express any anxiety. I guess he was confident that his tackling days lay ahead in his bright football future.

One week I missed his game so I called him. “What was your favorite part of the game?” I inquired. He paused searching for that special moment and then answered with his endearing lisp, “I think it was when they said “Wowdy Toppew ovew de loud speakew”. As speech developed for this grandson the “R’s” had not yet made it into his vocabulary. This makes for a particularly funny quirk since his own name begins and ends with an R. Later a friend told me that he was not actually even on the field when his name was called out on the public address system.

Sometimes you get recognized for something good you did not even do. Other times you do something great and do not get recognized at all. It’s OK. God always knows who you are.

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