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 got to play.
The determined young man decided to hang in there… who knows, perhaps he’d get to play when he became senior. All through high school he never missed a practice nor game but remained a bench warmer all four years. His faithful father was always with words of encouragement for him…
When the young man went to college, he decided too 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 put his heart and soul to every practice, and at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and the 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.
The persistent young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college. But never he got to play in a game. It was the end of the senior football season, and as he trotted onto the 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 alright if I miss practice today?”
The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said,
“take the rest of 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 10 points behind, a young man quietly limped back into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, the coach and the player were astounded to see their faithful team-mate back so soon.
“Coach please let me play. I’ve just got to play today.”
There was no way the coach wanted his worst player in this close play-off game, but the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the kid.
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. In the closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way for wining touchdown.
The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such chearing you never heard. Finally after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, 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 visually impaired ?”
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 athletes father, God is always cheering for us.
He’s always reminding us to go on.
He’s even offering 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…………………..
Adapted from a spiritual column in newspaper Hindustan Times.