Football and Discipleship

Last week, I had the privilege of attending Ram’s Football Academy for women in St. Louis.  They offered a glimpse into the life of a Ram player by participating in the drills that the players use in practice.  Since I love the game of football, this seemed like a perfect way to spend an evening so I eagerly signed up.

My sister and I enjoyed the event as we were introduced to the coach and some of the players, got a tour of the practice facility, and participated in the aforementioned drills.  We jumped and dodged obstacles like running backs, kicked field goals, caught passes with end zone celebrations, passed balls into targets, and endured blocking drills along with speed agility ladder maneuvers.

For the record, I cannot catch or kick; but pass and block well.  For some, the evening ended there.  I “enjoyed” the event a few more days.  At least, I was left with reminders of it. In my excitement, I forgot that I haven’t done these drills in a while.  OK, I haven’t done most of them since high school.  But, when the trainers encouraged full effort, I obliged like a rookie player wanting a place on the team.

The next morning, I was reminded that my over-eager effort was now only sore and stiff muscles—all of them.  I was wishing I had access to the whirlpools that real players use to recover.  But, aftercare was not so much an issue as was the need for realistic training in the first place.

You see, I was given a glimpse into what the professional players go through to prepare for Sundays and meeting their opponent.  I got a peek into the years of hard work that led them to this point; not just the drills, but the weightlifting and off-season training.

What if I approached my Christian walk like football players do?  What if I prepped and trained like football players approach a game?  Throughout the week, they study plays, run drills, and train with the team.

Football and Christianity are similar in that:

  • The Bible is my “playbook.”  In it, I find guidelines that are necessary to be a team player.  (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
  • My team, the church, is made up of Christians that have different positions.  Our personalities and spiritual gifts prepare us for service. (1 Cor. 12)
  • Our opponent is clearly identified and it is not other Christians or denominations.  We are given the uniform needed to face the competition.  (Eph. 6:10-18)

At Ram’s Football Academy, I learned about the life of professional players.  Football permeates their way of life and it separates the professionals from the rookies.

When Christians “train” throughout the week by allowing Jesus to permeate their way of life, they become active disciples rather than “armchair quarterbacks” from the front (or back) pew.

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