I love football. When I was growing up, our neighborhood kids would organize games every day. Good weather, bad weather, even snow and ice would not keep us from playing.
It was rare that someone would see me without a football in my hands. Mom always thought I would play in the NFL. Unfortunately I did not grow much after the ninth grade, so instead I ended up coaching, first at the recreation level and later at the high-school level.
I think what I enjoyed most about coaching was helping the players develop as young men. We all know there’s a lot of stuff that happens in life, and many of the skills needed to successfully deal with life’s ups and downs can be learned on the gridiron. Strong work ethics, determination, perseverance, sacrifice, positive attitudes, the execution of a good plan, patience, integrity, teamwork, discipline — the list could go on and on.
We are fortunate to have a high-school coach right here in Richmond Hill who capitalized on these valuable teachings and has not only developed great young men, but also has developed a successful program. I had the honor of meeting coach Lyman Guy at our local Rotary Club meeting. I was extremely impressed by his focus and desire to develop his players both on and off the field.
Although their playoff opportunities have ended for this year, the RHHS program will continue to press onward, developing young men and hopefully making playoff runs for years to come.
Lewis Grizzard, a native Georgian, writer and humorist, once wrote, “The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears and score your points when you get the opportunity.” Think about it. If you live long enough, you’re going to face some mighty big problems. Either you tackle your problems, or they tackle you. Within each problem we encounter, there is an opportunity.
One of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20TH century was polio. Epidemics were quite common in the early to mid-1900s, and many seniors have had to live the remaining years of their life with the crippling effects of this disease. Fortunately, this problem led to the development of a vaccine by the mid-1950s. This worldwide health problem presented an opportunity to help and protect millions of people.
Opportunities are not always easy to see. Most of the time it is not the problem that clouds our focus; it is the fear of the unknown that holds us back. Can you imagine what life would be like today if our forefathers had let fear rule their thinking and decision-making processes? No doubt our greatest achievements, both singularly and as a whole, have come on the heels of brave decisions that required calculated planning, sacrifice, sweat and well-executed actions.
Yes, Mr. Grizzard was right — life is a lot like football. And “the game is not over until it’s over.” Remember, football is a team sport. If you find yourself struggling to tackle your problems, particularly as you age, call on your teammates for help. Family, friends and church members are just a few of the people that can lend a hand.
Need more information? Contact me. I’m on your team too.
DeLong is the executive director of the Suites at Station Exchange. Email him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.