Monday, 11 August 2008


Bob Richards, the former pole-vault champion, shares a moving story about a
skinny young boy who loved football with all his heart. Practice after
practice, he eagerly gave everything he had. But being half the size of the
other boys, he got absolutely nowhere. At all the games, this hopeful
athlete sat on the bench and hardly ever played.

This teenager lived alone with his father, and the two of them had a very
special relationship. Even though the son was always on the bench, his
father was always in the stands cheering. He never missed a game.

This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered high
school. But his father continued to encourage him but also made it very
clear that he did not have to play football if he didn't want to. But the
young man loved football and decided to hang in there. He was determined to
try his best at every practice, and perhaps he'd get to play when he became
a senior. All through high school he never missed a practice nor a game but
remained a bench warmer all four years. His faithful father was always in
the stands, always with words of encouragement for him.

When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the football
team as a "walk-on". Everyone was sure he could never make the cut, but he
did. The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because he always
puts his heart and soul in every practice, and at the same time, provided
the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed. The news
that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to the
nearest phone and called his father. His father shared his excitement and
was sent season tickets for all the college games. This persistent young
athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he never
got to play in the game.

It was the end of his senior football season, and as he trotted onto the
practice field shortly before the big play off game, the coach met him with
a telegram. The young man read the telegram and he became deathly silent.
Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, "My father died this morning. Is
it all right if I miss practice today?"

The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, "Take the rest of
the week off, son. And don't even plan to come back to the game on Saturday

Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the third quarter,
when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly slipped
into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the
sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful
teammate back so soon. "Coach, please let me play. I've just got to play
today." said the young man. The coach pretended not to hear him. There was
no way he wanted his worst player in this close playoff game.

But the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the kid, the
coach gave in. "All right," he said. "You can go in".

Before long, the coach, the players and everyone in the stands could not
believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before was
doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he
passed, looked and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph. The
score was soon tied. In the closing seconds of the game, this kid
intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown. The fans
broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering
you never heard!

Finally, after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the
locker room the coach noticed that the young man was sitting quietly in the
corner all alone. The coach came to him and said, "Kid, I can't believe
it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?"

He looked at the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Well, you knew my
dad died, but did you know that my dad was blind?' The young man swallowed
hard and forced a smile, "Dad came to all my games, but today was the first
time he could see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!"

Like the athlete's father, God is always there cheering for us. He's always
reminding us to go on. He's even offering us His hand for He knows what is
best and is willing to give us what we need and not simply what we want. God
has never missed a single game.

What a joy to know that life is meaningful if lived for the Highest. Live
for HIM for He's watching us in the game of life.

-- Author Unknown

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