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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

Playing to Win
Date Posted: May 25, 2023

They lost. Yep. No doubt about it. They lost. They could have won it, but they lost. They squandered too many opportunities through penalties, poor play or indecision. And they lost. Yeah, I know. It's been three days and you were wondering when I was going to say something about the Super Bowl. I just said it. They lost. There I said it again. Ah, but the other team won. Nah. The other team didn't lose. The first team? They lost. Pure and simple. They lost.

There is a concept here with which some people are familiar but most are not. It is the difference between losing a game and the other team winning. I have participated in team sports on several different levels and have encountered this understanding on each level; grade school, high school, college and professional. For some there is no perceived difference. For many of us there is. There is a world of difference between losing a game and having the other team beat you. Let me explain.

The Super Bowl that was contested this past Sunday is a perfect example. The Seattle Seahawks had better statistics and executed their gameplan far better than the Pittsburgh Steelers did theirs. Passing statistics, time of possession, turnovers; all favored the Seahawks. Looking at those indicators would make one think that Seattle won the game. But they lost. They lost because they failed to execute plays cleanly. They lost a touchdown on an offensive pass interference call. Lost another because the receiver didn't concentrate well enough on what he was doing to hit the pylon of the end zone with his second foot. Add those two touchdowns to the mix and it becomes a lot different.

Then there were the drives that stalled due to dropped passes and false start penalties. Then there were the holding penalties which also squelched scoring opportunities. Now let's add in two missed field goals. If Pittsburgh did nothing different in the course of the game and Seattle corrected those mistakes, they add a touchdown for certain and possibly three field goals. "Yes," you say, "but Pittsburgh intercepted a pass late in the game." But it was a pass that would not have been thrown had the previous play, a pass to the one yard line, not been flagged for a holding call. Seattle lost because they didn't concentrate and didn't execute. Pittsburgh was not superior. Seattle simply lost.

Wonder what they would have done if they were told that the win was in the bag, all they had to do was play the game to their best ability? Odd thing. That's us. That's the church. We have the victory secured and all God wants us to do is put on the pads and helmet and the uniform and compete as best we can. "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Ephesians 6:11 That's the pads and helmet. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Galatians 3:27 That's the uniform. "Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10 That's competing as best we can. And? We win.

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Biography Information:
Tom Kelley, pastor, speaker, lived with his wife, Becky, in Georgetown, Kentucky

...He was the Minister of the Minorsville Christian Church located near Stamping Ground, KY.

...Becky and Tom have three children; John, single and in worship ministry in Nicholasville, Kentucky; Sean, married (Jennifer, elementary school teacher) with twins (Grace and Patrick, b.d. 10/31/04) and regional director of Papa John's Pizza in Central KY; Kara, married (Vince Taylor, prison guard) and working with Hospice East in Winchester, KY.

...Tom went to be with the Lord on November 13, 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer. If you have been touched by Tom's writings please send an email to Tom's son at