Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

The Game of Life (Part 1)

on January 4, 2012

(Happy 2012! It’s a new year, as well as the end of the 2011 football season. That being said, let’s start the new year off with some encouragement. Sports are life’s great metaphor, so decide to play your best game this year!)

 

 Some years ago, I went through a brief period of disappointment. I found myself comparing my life to the lives of women I know who in essence have no real impact or effect on my life in any way, shape, form or fashion. I felt like I wasn’t in, as I termed it, the Game of Life. I’m glad that I didn’t remain in this state for long.

Truth: We must be very careful about dwelling on those feelings; they can lead to depression.

It wasn’t until the next year that the Lord began to give me some really cool observations and revelations about the Game of Life. For those of you who are not sports savvy, forgive all the football references. (LOVE football!) Rejoice and be encouraged, because you are on the receiving end of those revelations!

Do you ever feel like you’re not in the game? Do you feel like everyone around you is an active player—marriage, children, careers, vacations, whatever—and you’re on the sidelines watching? Your friends are all discussing their kids’ Little League games and report cards. They’re talking about sons and daughters graduating and getting drivers licenses. You’re not in the Game of Parenthood because you have no children.

The men you work with speak of their wives in extolling ways. They don’t act like they are trapped with the “old ball and chain.” The women bring their husbands to the company Christmas party. They appear to have strong marriages. You have nothing to add to that either because you’re not in the Game of Marriage.

Homeowner buddies are excited about putting a deck out in the backyard; fast-track career climber friends are jet-setting all over the country. How do you fit with those scenarios?

Are you in the Game of Life? Yes. By virtue of simply being alive makes you part of it. Life is a game, metaphorically speaking, because Paul equates it to running a race. A race is a game. In the sports-crazy society we live in, games rule. What you need to understand is the season that your particular game is played, or that you’re in.

Games and Seasons

There are many different games—probably thousands. For our purposes, we’ll mainly deal with professional football and baseball. These are games that are played in different seasons. However, the football and baseball seasons overlap.

Each year, professional sports teams always have training before the start of the season. Those who perform well will make the team. For example, football starts training camp in late July. Preseason games are played in August, and the regular 16-game season kicks off in September. Play-off games are in January, and the season culminates with the Super Bowl in February.

Major League Baseball starts spring training in February, with regular season games beginning in April. Teams play 162 games. Their play-offs are in September. The World Series is in mid-October. It’s a long season, and in my opinion, not very exciting. Why get excited about a team on a winning streak in June, when they can lose 25 games in July? Personally, I wouldn’t get excited over a baseball team in April. Waaaay too early. With football, however, teams can start playoff hopes in the 7th and 8th week.

Training Camp

An athlete must train for his specific sport. Within the sport, players must train for their specific position. In football, the offense goes through different drills than the defense. Even within the two structures, players have different drills. The receivers spend quite a bit of time just catching the ball. The quarterbacks spend time throwing the ball. The tackles and linebackers are practicing their hits. The running backs are going through footwork and dodging exercises.

They must train mentally as well as physically. Coaches are yelling at players, “Stay with me! Focus!” If your body is in the game, but your mind isn’t, you might as well sit down. You won’t be effective.

Observation: Are you ready for your game?

The Baseball Game of Life

Baseball is slow. It’s actually more fun to go to the park and see it live because of the atmosphere. You may not be called to live a fast-paced life. Life is slow and steady. You don’t have to play in the rain. There’s not a lot of contact with other players. This is your game. You may get a hit or not. You may get on base, or not. You may get a home run, or not. Whatever the outcome, there’s still another inning to play. You still get nine chances to get that all-important home run, and if you don’t get it today, there’s always tomorrow.

The Football Game of Life

Football is very exciting. It’s a short season, but full of energy, excitement, and very hard-nosed. It’s all or nothing in football. 16 games. That’s it. It’s rough. Players take hard-hits. It’s played in all weather—from 85 degrees in September to 20 degrees in December. Sometimes players can’t see the ball for fog or snow. There’s no such thing as a rainout in football. Sometimes you can’t tell who the players are because of the mud on the uniforms. There is no series in football. You have to be on. It’s a one-shot deal. Win or go home.

You may play a much more intense and faster game. You’ll have some warm and sunny days. You’ll have some dreary rainy and snowy days. You still have to play. You can’t wimp out. You can’t decide you don’t want to play because it’s raining. You can’t complain because you’re all covered with mud, or because you’re cold. It’s part of your game. It’s not always going to be great weather or physical conditions. Your game may not consist of a lot of chances.

Games (Lives) Can Overlap

In baseball, the World Series takes place in mid to late October. Therefore, baseball season overlaps football season.

In cities where there’s only one stadium, yard lines are painted over second base. Baseball players can look like they’re running for a touchdown; football players can look like they’re sliding into home. Maybe your game will overlap someone else’s game. For a brief period of time, you’re playing on the same field.

Observation: Maybe you will have toddlers while your best friend’s kids are pledging sororities.

People have different abilities. Chicago White Sox home run king Paul Konerko doesn’t play football. His game is different. He trains differently. His season is different and his off-season is different. The rules of his game are totally different than that of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Jay has no  business complaining that his season is too short or it’s too rough. Paul shouldn’t talk about being tired after the 50th game. That’s the nature of their game and that’s what they are. Konerko cannot be a quarterback. He’d get creamed. (Sometimes Cutler gets creamed.) He doesn’t have the training to play football. Jay Cutler can throw a football down field, but with that same arm can he swing a bat with the over-the-fence power of Paul Konerko? Konerko can throw a baseball, but can he throw a football to a  receiver 50 yards away?

Observation: It is a mistake to compare your sport/game/life with another person’s.

The Off-Season

The off-season is when the sport is inactive. During the off-season in the NFL, no games are being played anywhere. But is the sport inactive? No.

There is much activity in the off-season. Much. People get fired, like coaches and managers of losing teams, as well as under-performing players. A lot of people get hired, like new coaches and free agents signing on with other teams. There’s a lot of scrambling to snatch up good players who have become available. College players are drafted. Veterans come and go. Contracts are negotiated. New game plans and schedules are devised.

Observation: There’s always something happening. God is always doing something.

This is not a time for players to kick back and eat cookies all day. True, they should have some much-needed downtime and allow time for their bodies to heal. However, they should still be keeping their bodies in condition.

Observation: Don’t get weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap a harvest. You have to stay ready for your due season.

So, in essence:

¨     God is the Supreme Coach who drafts people for certain games.

¨     He knows who is best suited for a particular game.

¨     He puts us in the game He wants us in.

¨     God comes up with the game plan.

¨     God does not reveal the playbook until He’s ready. He calls all the plays.

¨     You can be in the game, but you may be not playing; it may be your season, just not your turn.

¨     He takes us off the bench when He wants us to play.

¨     Your turn will come—there are no bench-warmers in God’s Kingdom. Everybody has something to do.

¨     We need to stay in condition and in shape throughout the off-season as well, or you won’t be ready when the season begins.

(end part 1)

Photo credits:

gustey.com; Jay Cutler, Rob Grabowski-US Presswire, US PRESSWIRE / November 20, 2011; 123rf.com

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14 responses to “The Game of Life (Part 1)

  1. Syreeta Kee says:

    Poignantly insightful and identifiable! Absolutely great!

  2. Benita Rankins says:

    Thanks for the message, it really made me think and try to pick my game appropriate to the season that I am in. Stay blessed!

  3. Gwen says:

    A beautiful message.

  4. Brenda Moore says:

    Okay I am really feeling this post cause you’ve just said everything thats been flowing thru my head today!
    ..
    I have no home of my own, no kids and no significant or insignificant other either, on top of all that found a lump in my breast (benign) lets just say I’ve had better starts to a new year oh yeah did I mention my car died and is buried…like I said good start! But…there was a time when I would have fell to pieces but this time I haven’t…why? Well I guess I’ve found that God has my back. He taught me to reach out and learn how to help myself. I have learned that He will show me the direction, He will give me supplies to get there and if He don’t walk with me He will send someone as my guide…but the actual walking I have to do myself. I know I’m blessed even though I’m not where I want to be I’m where I’m supposed to be cause this is the path I was sent to walk. Now I ain’t gonna lie my feet are really hurting and my back is aching but the further I walk the better the scenery and sooner rather than later I will get to my destination!

    So happy for you sister girl…where and when is your book coming out?

    • You sound so upbeat! I love that. “Life” has really dealt you some jokers, but you have found the best way, which is the Lord. And yes, HE is walking with you. I will keep you in prayer.

  5. Lewis Bush says:

    You’re so right, the Coach might have something else in store for oyher players.

  6. place says:

    Very intreresting post. It was very relavant. I was looking exaxtly for this. Thank you for your effort. I hope you will write more such useful posts.

  7. Clotele says:

    What an encouragement. I really enjoyed it. It is a reminder of the 3 C’s. Don’t compare your walk with others, don’t compete with the lives of others and don’t complain about your life. God has the best for all of us. So, let’s celebrate with others.

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