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Get High on Life

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / November 18, 1998

The day before the regular high school football season started, I stopped at East St. John High School to meet Ronnie Stevens, the new Wildcat headfootball coach. I congratulated him and wished him and his team well.In our short conversation, I asked if the school had an active Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization. “No,” he answered, “but we will do adevotional before each game.” He invited me to lead the team in their firstpre-game devotional and I have had the pleasure of meeting with him, his staff and the entire football team before almost every game since then.

The scripture I’ve used for the last three weeks is from Romans 16:3 – “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Istressed to the team that the scripture says that your thoughts will be established – not just some, but every thought – if they commit their works to the Lord.

During the course of the year, I’ve talked about unity and recognized the players who had worked hard all year but didn’t get much playing time. Itold them that their contribution to the team as encouragers on the sideline was so important. I challenged the seniors to be positive leaderson and off the field.

Another thing I addressed was the players’ behavior during the National Anthem. “It’s important,” I said, “to stand at attention (out of respect)and focus on the freedoms we enjoy in America.”Last Friday was the team’s first playoff game against Covington. Thatmorning, I read the following message on my daily calendar: “Time flies, but remember, you are the navigator.” I used that in the pre-gamedevotional, comparing the productive use of time – not only in the game – but also in life. “Tonight,” I said, “the playing time is 48 minutes. It willfly, but you are the navigator. You will decide how you will use that time.”I cautioned them to use it wisely.

I attended the game and what a game it was! The halftime score was 14- 10, with East St. John leading. No scoring took place in the third quarter,although East St. John had a couple of golden opportunities. My thoughtswere that they didn’t put Covington away and that might come back to haunt them.

It did, because with three minutes and 35 seconds left in the game, Covington scored, making the score Covington 17, East St. John 14. Afterthat, the two teams exchanged the ball once. East St. John had one lastchance, with the ball on its own 35-yard line, first and 10, with 55 seconds left and no timeouts. Using the time wisely, with a few completedpasses (the last one to Roy Del Williams, who was forced out of bounds on the 1-yard line), with one second left, Floyd Smith scored on a quarterback keeper. East St. John won!I was reminded of the message on my calendar – “Time flies, but remember, you are the navigator.”I pray that I, as well as all the football players, will use our time in the game of life as well as they managed the time in the football game.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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