Devotional: October 12th
At one time football was my favorite sport to play. Obviously, at fifty-five years old and somewhat arthritic, to still participate in the sport would be somewhat foolish. However, I continue to enjoy watching the game and can still appreciate its nuances and science. Yes, I know it is brutish, but football presents the greatest dichotomy in sport. It combines speed and grace with raw power. It possesses the ability to leave one aghast at its brutality in one moment while bringing us to our feet with its beauty in the next.
When a play is called there are basically two options; run or pass. Woody Hayes, the venerable coach of the Ohio State University Buckeyes from the fifties into the eighties, leaned more toward the run with his "three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" ground game. "Three things can happen when you throw the ball," Hayes used to say, "and two of them are bad." Today's game has grown to be a bit more pass oriented than that of Hayes' day, even in high school contests. However, there is a move toward quarterbacks that can run as well as throw from high school on into the pro ranks.
But back to the play. The play is called in the huddle and the team breaks the huddle and comes to the line of scrimmage (the line across the field of play that is determined by the position of the football) to take their places in their offensive formation. The defense sets itself according to what it sees in the positioning of the offensive players. Then the ball is snapped and everything springs into motion. The dichotomy begins as the quarterback takes the snap of the ball from his center. If he hands it off to a back for a running play the entire play can be over in a manner of a few seconds. Ah, but when he fades back to pass he is able to view football's dichotomy in all its facets.
First he looks at his receivers who are running their routes with ballet like grace and agility all the while being shadowed by their counterparts on defense, the defensive backs, who move as one with the receivers. Then he notices the blocking that is taking place around him. Huge bodies locked in hand to hand combat, one struggling to control the other, while the other struggles to break free. Amid the wrestling matches taking place within a matter of a few feet of him, the quarterback must select a receiver that he perceives to be able to separate himself from his adversary. Then he releases the football and the combination of ballet-like grace and simple strength determines who catches the ball.
Each day we wake up. We start our days mostly in a predictable fashion with our morning routine. Some must endure the brutality of highway gridlock while others grab a second cup of coffee and settle into their home office. Some must wrestle with difficulties in the workplace while others face decisions that are happily made with results that make everyone else happy. Life is a dichotomy. It combines both that which is base and elemental in the human condition and that which is a foreshadowing of God's grace and beauty. How we prepare for it each day goes a long way in determining how we handle it. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2
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