Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Football and Me

I'm not athletic. I've never claimed to be. The extent of my athleticism is boxed into a category known as dance. I have been a part of numerous dance teams - drill, dance and formation ballroom dancing, but within in these groups, the concept of winning is drastically different. Unlike a "sport," there aren't different positions that work together and in most dance team competitions, it's the unity of performing the same moves or coordinated waves which determine the outcome of our winning.

So when I recently decided to join the powder puff football team with our Ward, I was not only skeptical, I was fearful.
And although I know fear and faith cannot coexist, fear is the best description of my decision to participate in competitive sports for the following reasons:

1) I'm not as competitive as some of the girls on the team.

At least not openly so. The extent of my competition is ensuring I am constantly pushing myself to be more than what I am. So if I can't even catch a ball, catching it once out of ten practice drills is better than none and sadly, to me, that is a win. Unfortunately, my teammates might feel different.

2) I am not willing to put my body at risk of catching a ball.

I once jammed my finger catching a football. Not only were my fingers swollen with purple and pain, but I was lucky enough to have it on my left
hand - the hand that is less utilized (sometimes I aim to be ambidextrous since I was born a leftie and switched over by my mom who inadvertently stifled my creativity). Now if I was an athlete by profession, I would not care, unfortunately, I am an accountant by choice and my hands are quite important as I am on the computer more than 10 hours a day. That means letting the ball fall sometimes and hearing my wonderful teammates cheer me on for the next catch while they repress expressions of utter disappointment.

3) It's football and I'm a girl.

I know, you're thinking How sexist! How gender typical are you Daisy? Well, I enjoy watching football... if someone is watching it with me but I really enjoy shopping... even if nobody is with me. I also enjoy good replays on Sports Center even if by myself but I really enjoy the cheerleading and dance competitions on ESPN and am usually by myself.

So basically my football world turned upside down when I heard Coach Mendenhall of the BYU Cougars at a fireside in San Diego last weekend.
I'll admit, I was watching a lot of BYU football because Andy is a huge fan and it's a great weekend pastime, but until last Friday, I wouldn't have called myself a Coug fan.

As the members of the football team spoke about their own experiences being a disciple to Christ through their mission, through football and life in general, the spirit engulfed me. I was touched by the simple words of each player and Coach Mendenhall and the message that the game was secondary and being a disciple to Christ is always first. It reminded me to take every opportunity to not only live the Gospel, but share it and be proud of it and not get caught up with the temporal things of the world. And then, when I least expected it, the defensive linebackers got up and sang a song. Again, the strength of the spirit moved me, which also caused me to chuckle a bit because there's no doubt in my mind that the spirit is real… why else would I become choked at the off-key musical performance of some big brawny football players?

After the fireside, I reflected on my own football experiences. The last practice I had was a Tuesday before this fireside, one in which I seriously considered bailing because there were other things I'd rather do - sure, it's a good work out but I suck and I would much rather be doing something I'm good at and also burns calories. I ended up going because of the obligation I felt from the prior commitment made. After this last weekend, I realized... I should continue going because it's actually not half bad AND the game is second to the relationships made there. Not only is it an amazing way to connect with other sisters from the Ward but the brothers as well! A bunch of dudes volunteer their time to not only teach us the basics of flag football (you know you can only pass one time, only pull flags if they have the ball .. ahh, it all makes sense now!) but have the patience to consistently coach and encourage us. And trust me... if you saw some of us newbies, you'd be amazed. I am amazed. And re-energized for football - both the Cougs and the Angels.

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