For about 15 years (unofficial records show), our family has been competing in a Thanksgiving Day Football Game. Otherwise known as the “Turkey Bowl“…….. The time of year when player personnel is drafted in a very unfair way only to give one team complete advantage. Everyone is decked out in uniform, eye black, towels, receiver gloves, and we even spat tennis shoes for “old injuries” or just “great looks”. The old adage that if “you look good then you play good” is taken seriously but often falls untrue. All ages are required to compete and we anticipate drama with some serious tears at some point. Game time music blares on the speakers and a trophy is even on display for the winner. We play to ten by ones and have halftime once a team reaches five scores. Gatorades are packed in ice for each contestant to hydrate for a very intense second half. Once the game is over, the “Champions” pose for team pics while the losers walk off in absolute disgust only to be satisfied by the Thanksgiving feast that awaits at home. The Turkey Bowl is a great event and gives bragging rights at least for a weekend. Ultimately we play this family game every year because of the opportunity to bring us “Together“. I heard a comment the other day that said “Football is not a lifetime sport you can play but an experience that effects you for a lifetime“. Football’s simplest form of beauty is that it has the power to bring people “Together“. Teammates, Coaches, Families, Friends, and Fans can come “Together” with a common bond.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24
Today, as we play another “Turkey Bowl”, it is humbling to think of all that has been brought “Together” through this game. I am not only thankful because it is Thanksgiving but thankful for the gifts this profession and playing the game have given me. “Together” reminds me of the passion, direction, and goals it provided while attending five different middle/high schools. “Together” gave me a team to feel belonging when I knew nobody. “Together” blessed me with lifelong friendships with teammates and the love they show to this day. “Together” teaches us that bonds are forged in adversity. “Together” reminds me of times training, sweating, hanging in the locker room, on the team bus, helping each other, and competing to win. “Together” makes me so grateful for the great coaches that have been such a positive influence on my life. “Together” allows me the pleasure to not only work with great men and coaches but become something greater with them. “Together” brings unlimited blessings in the relationships with all the players in my career. “Together” allows me to see young men from all walks of life grow as individuals and strive “Together” for a common purpose. “Together” brings joy in seeing players come back as husbands, fathers, and motivated people pursuing their dreams. “Together” helps us understand that family is not always about blood but about those who make you feel like family. “Together” gives you that unexpected blessing with a phone call, email, text, or surprise visit from so many relationships throughout this journey. “Together” rewards you with common threads and connections with so many unexpected people associated with this game. “Together” makes me grateful for the relationships with families and supporters that last far beyond any one season. “Together” reminds me of how this game gave me an education, helped me meet my wife, and ultimately led to my wonderful family. “Together” makes me so thankful to have a football family that is so invested in the greater purpose of this profession. “Together” helps me visualize my wife and kids after every game waiting to love and support no matter the outcome. “Together” brought me to F.C.A. Football Camp where I received the greatest gift of all by giving my life to Christ. “Together” gives us the great lesson that no matter our title or position we all must be obedient to something greater. “Together” inspires me to honor my experience and the name before my own in the word “Coach”. “Together” drives us to serve and be on mission to bring life value to others. “Together” as you see is the very essence of this great game of Football.
Thank you Lord for your plans and the great people in my life because of this path. Thanksgiving is a day to recognize our blessings but do not forget that we live them everyday. Whatever your path or profession, understand that it is not by accident. The people associated with you are appointed for your growth and influence. We all have our own “Turkey Bowl” to some degree, that something that brings us all “Together“. Please reflect, value, and honor all the great influences that is specific to your journey. Keep striving, taking steps, and follow your path with courage. The blessings in this life come from being obedient to your greater calling. Each day remember “You Are Born To Be Special” and this life is meant to be spent “Together“.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11