No “I” in Team

Football season is here.  {Ok, you deserve a fair warning/disclaimer.  We’ve entered my FAVORITE time of the year.  HIgh, college & NFL football is back, baseball is nearing the playoffs, NASCAR is in the Chase and basketball is right around the corner.  Both of my kids are playing sports.  This could likely will influence my posts. } At my son’s practices, they go through all of the normal drills, play running, scrimmaging, etc.  And at the end of every practice the coach has them run a couple of laps.  Needless to say, all of the boys are tired after a long practice in this Texas heat.  But they run.

At one practice last week the boys pushed through and as they were all finishing made their way to their waters and Gatorades.  All as one boy struggled to finish.  He wasn’t giving up, he wasn’t stopping, but he was struggling out there to finish.  Everyone was done but him.

And then the coach did something that caught my attention.  He sent the boys out to run with their teammate and encourage him to the finish. And one by one the boys headed out to run with their teammate.  They began to run all around him, cheering him on to the finish.  From where I sat, not only did they all leave their drinks and head back to the field, they did it without complaining.  And after a short time, the boy, surrounded by his team finished.  Finished with teammates and coaches cheering for him.

In that moment, the coach won me over.  He could have let the boys stay on the sidelines.  He could have been the only one to encourage the boy.  He could have yelled at the boy for not being fast enough.  But he saw the opportunity for the team to be a team and took it.

And then I thought about me.  How many times have I run the race of my day, gotten to the end, and just been glad to grab a relaxing cup of coffee, without paying any attention to those around me.  Those who may be struggling to finish the race of their day.  How many times do I see someone struggling to finish and just stay on the sidelines?  Because I’m tired, because I’m done, because I’m finished?

What the coach showed me is that my leader (God) wants me to finish well, but then to encourage others who may be struggling to finish…with a good attitude.  What the boys showed me is that, even while tired, helping a teammate finish actually feels better than just finishing.  What the boys showed me is that an encouraging spirit and encouraging actions can carry a struggling teammate to the finish line.

What race are you running today? Are you finishing today with little struggle and a little left in your tank to be an encouragement? Or are you struggling in your race today and need the encouragement of those around you? Today, as my race is a smooth one, I pray that God makes me aware of those around me who need some encouragement to finish.  And on the days that my race is a struggle, I pray that I have a team around me to encourage me to the finish.

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