Football and other gifts from God

Every once in a while I’ve read a story or heard a news piece that made me think, “This should be turned into a movie!” Rarely has that happened (so odd that Hollywood directors aren’t looking more for my opinion).

Back in 2008, I came across such a story. It was a about a football game in Texas between Faith Christian high school and Gainseville State School. I doubt anyone remembers the final score of the game, but those who attended will never forget what happened.

You see, Gainseville State School is a school for juvenile delinquents. They have no home field to play on, so every one of their football games is an away game. Until they played at Faith Christian high school, one night in Gainseville, Texas.

The coach of the FCHS Lions had an idea, one that would impact the lives of each of the GSS Tornadoes. He asked the families and cheerleaders of his school to cheer on the players from the other school. He asked them to make a spirit line, one that stretched 40 yards, for the Tornado players to run through. They made signs and banners for the “opposing” team. At the start of the game, Tornado players were shocked to see their stands fuller than the other side, and to hear a crowd much larger than the usual few family members there to root them on.

In an interview after the game, the Lions coach made the comment that if this type of game had been started 10-15 years ago, maybe there wouldn’t be a need for Gainesville State School, today. Giving players a chance at hope, an opportunity to be believed in and a moment to feel loved and accepted, even by total strangers, can change the course of a young man’s life.

And guess what? They’re going to turn this story into a movie. It’s called “One Heart” and it’s due out sometime next year.

I wonder how many opportunities you and I have to alter someone’s future for good, if we would just ask God for help, to see things the way He does? The football game in Gainesville didn’t require any extra funds or resources. Instead, one coach just redirected the love and compassion of his fans to a group of young men who desperately needed both. By simply moving people about 70 yards (the distance from one set of bleachers to the other), lives may very well have been changed for the Kingdom.

  1. Is there an adjustment you could make to a regular, maybe even mundane, task, that could dramatically impact the life of someone else? (For example: giving up a few cups of coffee each month, in order to support a missionary or an orphan through World Vision, or taking your lunch breaks at the local mission to help serve a meal.)
  2. Who do you come into contact with regularly (daily or weekly or monthly) that needs help? Is there any way you could mobilize others to join you in a quest to love as God loved?
  3. Could you donate one hour a week to help others in need? Ask your pastor about opportunities through your church, or visit your local school and offer to help.

The point is simple. Opportunities to change lives are all around us. Jesus is out on the water, and He calls us to join Him. However, if we want to get where He is, we have to leave the comfort of the boat and choose to love people as He does. Are you up for the challenge?

Go ahead and take the plunge, live is always better on the water!

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2 Responses to Football and other gifts from God

  1. Patrick Frost says:

    Great blog Joe! It touched my heart to see the way that community rallied around the kids on the “other” team. So awesome to see the way we can touch kids’ lives and show them the love of Christ through sports. Thanks for sharing!

    • joeacast says:

      Patrick, so true. Sports give us access to reach people with hope that we might not otherwise have a chance to help. Reminds me of the story of Mike Orr ( The Blind Side) and how sports became the vehicle for life change. Keep up the good work you are doing in sports — lives are being changed!

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