There are few things that make this momma happier than seeing one of her boys out on the football field. Don’t get me wrong. I loved basketball, baseball, and yes, I almost even loved track, but it just didn’t get any better than high school football.
Beginning in the fall of 2002 when Logan first suited up as a 7th grade Crawford Pirate, I was hooked. Well, addicted might actually be a more accurate word, but hooked sounds so much healthier. Brad and I loved every single minute of every single football game, even in the years when we were going on Thursday and Friday nights to watch our boys play. I probably cheered louder than any momma in the stands. Seems I do recall my boys being a tad embarrassed when they (and their teammates and their coaches) discovered my very distinctive voice on the football film. It probably didn’t help that I occasionally said, “Go, sweetie!”
Last fall, I made it to one football game. One. And I was perfectly miserable. I couldn’t even watch the game. I couldn’t tell you who Crawford played or what the final score was. And it wasn’t because Crawford didn’t have a good team. They did. But there was one small problem. For the first time in nine years, there wasn’t a Kendrick on the field. I was heartbroken. Truly.
So, you can only imagine my joy when Cam decided to attempt to walk-on at Tarleton. He worked out at 5:30 every morning… five days a week… for the entire fall semester. Meanwhile, I prayed every single day. Please, Lord.
Spring rolled around, and he made the team. There was some major celebrating at the Kendrick house, and it wasn’t even football season. We went to the spring scrimmage, and you would have thought we were going to the Super Bowl.
When Cam headed back to Tarleton in July, the praying commenced. Making the dress list was his goal. And he did!
Brad and I traveled to Stephenville, Texas, decked out in purple and great big smiles. This picture is actually after the game, and we were still smiling!
Now would probably be a good time to mention that Cameron is not a star on the team. In fact, I think he made it on the field the sum total of five times. Right now he is playing on special teams, and he is first team kickoff. Tarleton kicked off five times, thus his five appearances on the field. He didn’t make any incredible tackles. His picture wasn’t taken by anyone other than me. His name didn’t appear in the Tarleton newspaper. He didn’t make the stat sheet either.
But he did make the best play of the game. The play that made this momma’s heart just about pop out of my chest. And, thankfully I captured it on camera.
Cam doesn’t know who this little boy is. We don’t either. This little guy was just standing in the end zone after the game, tightly holding his big sister’s (or his momma’s) hand, with his eyes glued to Cameron. I made eye contact with Cam and then looked over at the little boy. Cam instantly stopped his conversation with some friends and went over to him. “Hey, buddy,” was all Cam needed to say, and this little boy’s face absolutely lit up. Cam shook his hand and talked to him about football, while his big sister said to me, “He’s always wanted to meet a real football player. He’ll never go to sleep after this.” I asked her if it was okay for me to take a picture, and she said sure. Cam handed his helmet to Buddy, and he was all smiles. And my heart soared. For a little boy who got to meet a real football player. And for my big boy who made the best play of the game.
And on the drive home that night, I got to thinking…
For football players, the uniform doesn’t tell the story of who you are. Neither do the stats or the newspaper. The same holds true for all of us. Our uniform – what we look like or what we have to wear doesn’t tell the story of who we are. Neither do our stats – single, married, divorced or widowed; size 2 or a size 20; unemployed or employed; Baptist or Methodist or pick a denomination; high school dropout or college graduate. Our past mistakes don’t tell the story of who we are any more than the current gossip does.
What tells the story is our actions – the way we live out the gospel. Whether we’re willing and bold enough to love others in both simple and extravagant ways, just like Christ loves us.
Those are the best plays in the game we call life. Play on!