Grayson, our stinking cute 10-year-old grandson, loves football. Tackle, flag, whatever. Playing or watching. Preferably playing. Offense or defense. He has a lot of talent on both sides of the line of scrimmage but especially defense. He has a nose for where the other team is headed with the ball, and his favorite play is on defense. It’s called a “pick six.” He would rather intercept a pass and run it back for a TD than eat a bacon gouda sandwich at Starbucks. Someone told me it’s not bragging if it’s the truth.
And little brother Anderson is following in the steps of his brother’s cleats.
Last weekend, Sammie and I got to see them play flag football, twice, for the Buccaneers, coached by our son - their dad. We drove to Mt. Juliet, on Friday, in time to see the last game of the regular season - a make-up game. Anderson played center most of the game, but he also made a couple of good runs. Grayson passed for a TD and ran for another. On defense, he collected a few “flags,” broke up several pass plays and, of course, scored a TD on a pick six.
After the game, we congratulated them on their win and told them, “Good game, guys!”
G responded by telling me that he hadn’t really played that well...not compared to his previous games of the season. Okay! So he threw a couple of interceptions. One of them was followed by the pick six he made. That play was actually the game changer. Sunday morning we were inspired at First Baptist Church Mt Juliet. After brunch, Anderson performed in a piano recital. Then it was back to the football field for the first round of the playoffs.
The Sunday afternoon game was a little closer. A couple of the Bucs good players were not able to be there for the game. Still, the Playl boys and their teammates rose to the occasion. One of G’s passes was to A...for a TD. Grayson also ran for a touchdown, again. And, guess what - he also scored again on a pick six. The returned interception was early in the game, and the other team quit throwing passes after that.
A couple of days after that first game of the playoffs, we received a text from our son. The Bucs had won their semifinal game and were “going to the flag football super bowl!” Coach Playl reported that neither of the Playl boys was “player of the game”...but their team won.
In football - whether it’s five-on-five flag football or helmets, shoulder pads, and full contact - it takes the whole team playing together to win. Life is quite similar. We depend on others, and others depend on us, to give it our best shot. Sometimes our best is not enough. Sometimes we worry that we didn’t “play as well” as we did some other time. Truth be told, none of us is perfect, not even our kids and grandkids, but - on a spiritual note - if we believe perfection is required to receive God’s favor, we will fail every time. Certainly God expects us to give it our best shot, but He also knows we must depend on His grace, not our perfection, to please Him. Instead of fretting when we fall short, we must call on Him for forgiveness and the strength to play a better game - next time.
Scripture reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory” and “there is no one that is righteous.” Only one perfect man has walked the face of this planet. His name is Jesus. Our best is not good enough, but Jesus offered Himself for us so that, by God’s grace, we can come to Him...by faith. His best is good enough for the worst of us.
Steve Playl, columnist, college instructor, retired pastor, and chaplain, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org