Thankful: The Best 2 Years of My Life

I posted this on Facebook last weekend, but I wanted to capture my words on this blog. Mostly for my sake, not yours. Maybe it’s because I want to make sure I have a permanent home for these words, or maybe it’s because I still need to process my feelings. (Honestly, I didn’t expect the end of the season to hit me so hard.) Maybe it’s both of these reasons, and more. But I posted them today since I don’t figure I’ll get much blog traffic. That’s fine, because if you left a comment, it’ll probably just make me cry all over again. So actually I am thankful whether or not you leave a comment.

Football Team

Several of you have been asking about an update on last night’s game, since I didn’t post it as I usually do. As many of you have figured out, we lost in the Lower State Championship game. I was not ready to share that information last night, but here are my thoughts….

We are sad, and hurt. I am hurt, especially for the seniors and especially for the ones that I got to coach every day. I hope they can reflect on the fact that so FEW people, even so few high school football players, will ever play in a state semifinal game. I hope they can reflect on their successes & hold their heads high.

As for me, mostly because of coaching football, the past 2 years could be the BEST 2 years of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wouldn’t trade the relationships which God has brought about.

Yes, the young men on the team drove me crazy at times (heck, I know I did the same to them). But they enriched my life, and the lives of my wife & kids. I love these young men, and would do anything to help them. I wish I could do so much more.

I am thankful for the relationships with the coaches on the team. Here is a group of men that I would not “normally” have hung out with (I am thankful that Jesus doesn’t settle for normal). But they accepted me, and I’m proud to call them friends.

And I am thankful for Coach Eddie Ford, who — 24 months ago — asked me to join his staff after I told him I was leaving the Boys and Girls Club. He started me out with coaching the receivers (a simple enough job for a run-first team), and slowly let me take over coaching the defensive backs as well, during my first season. He never wavered in his faith in and support of me. I respect him (and the other staff) for how much they care for the young men on the team. He pours himself out as a living sacrifice, being a male role model that so many of these young men need.

Since we are moving next summer, I know I won’t have the blessing of coaching in Allendale again. I don’t know if I will ever coach again. That’s fine, since I don’t think I would ever find a group of coaches & young men that I would want to be around so much.

Two years. Easily over 1000 hours of work, to earn 2 region championships and 4 playoff games. There is a lot to be thankful for.

But mostly I am thankful for the relationships that Jesus brought about by leading us to Allendale. He blesses me way better than I deserve, and that only makes sense through the Good News (gospel) of what He HAS DONE and IS DOING in our lives.

(Disclosure: This post took about 10 minutes to write, including 7 minutes of me bawling my eyes out.)

OK, now for me to re-read the encouraging and tear-inducing comments on the original post.

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