By Brooke Kireta
It is fall in Georgia, which means pumpkin everything is everywhere much to my oldest daughter’s great pleasure, and high school football is in full swing.
This is my first fall in seven years that I am not watching my son play football.
There are so many things that while you are doing them you cannot wait for them to end, but then once they do, you are a little sad. I never thought driving car pool for sweaty teenage football players would be one of those things, but it is. I don’t so much miss the hours spent hauling everyone around, but I miss being privy to their conversations on the way to and from practices and games. I could write a book called Football Conversations - True Confessions of Aspiring Athletes Who Really Want To Be Football Stars But Still Want To Have Forty Hours A Week To Play Video Games. Not that catchy - I’m not sure it would be a best-seller.
I do have some moments that are burned in my memory because of the lessons I learned from these boys, and though they may not be book worthy, they are worth sharing.
One night driving home from JV football practice, talk turned to the previous season when the boys were on the middle school team. They discussed in-depth how awesome they each were at their respective positions. I would give anything to have had this recorded - male bonding at its finest.
“You were great...True, but you were great, too...Yes I was.” No one was struggling with false humility. But then one of the boys said something that, besides being ridiculously funny, was actually quite profound.
While discussing different plays from the previous season - incredible interceptions, unbelievable touchdowns, amazing tackles (there was no shortage of confidence in this car) - my son’s friend, Connor, says “Yeah, the best play of the season for me was in that game, and only me and my dad remember it.”
Now we were all dying laughing, thinking - if it was so incredible - how come you two are the only ones who remember it? But Connor is dead serious and goes on to explain how even in the Hi-Light video you see Brandt, my son, running the ball for this awesome touchdown, and off to the side you can see a giant kid coming to take Brandt out - but instead the big kid gets tackled. You can’t see on the video who tackles him or how, but the tackle is made, and Brandt breezes into the endzone unobstructed. Then you hear the crowd, the team, the coaches all yelling, “Way to go, Brandt!” But the kid who made that touchdown possible was Connor and nobody noticed...except his dad.
This story has stuck with me for years.
Connor laughed as he told us the story, and we laughed with him because, frankly, it was funny especially when Connor told it. I am amazed by the whole thing, though, considering how much we are all longing for affirmation and recognition. I’m sure Connor would have loved for everyone to notice what he did , but it was enough for his heart that his dad saw it and they could relive that moment together: “Do you remember, Connor, when you took out that kid that was twice your size to save the touchdown and win the game? Man, that was awesome. I’ll never forget that moment!”
Some of us don’t have those kind of dad moments from childhood, and we envy Connor because he does.
But what’s worse than missing out on those past moments is living your entire life and missing out on these moments with your Abba Father. He sees everything you do that seems to be overlooked and unnoticed. He says, “Do you remember when you did more than was asked of you, loved the unlovely, forgave when no one was sorry, gave more than you had to give? That was so awesome! I will never forget those moments.”
He sees. He knows. He loves us so much. He is a dad like no other, and He never misses out on the moments of our lives. We can say with confidence, “My best moment of the season and only me and my Dad remember it!” and like Connor, if we have really experienced in our hearts our Father’s love for us, it will be more than enough.
“...You, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old…”