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80 Long

Andrew had his first junior high football game last night. He is playing wide receiver and running in the play calls, just like I did many years ago!  Watching his games has taken me back to my playing days and has brought back a few of my football memories.  However, one in particular stands out – the 80 long play.

For those who don’t know – 80 long  is when the wide receiver runs straight down the sideline – way down the sideline –  like to the end zone down the sideline, and the quarterback rolls out and throws it to him.  The intent – the long bomb for a touchdown – and the cheers of the crowd, and FOOTBALL GLORY!

So, I remember Coach Wilson calling 80 Long in my ear hole.  As I ran towards the huddle I realized that this play was coming to me!  This was MY chance at glory.

I tore off down the side line, got past the cornerback, arrived in the endzone and turned over my out side shoulder for the ball.  And there was the ball, targeted for my inside shoulder!  Oh No!  In horror I watched the ball fall aimlessly to the ground.  Which in this case what a gravel track in the corner of the end zone. And dejected I ran back to the sideline.

I never ran 80 long into the huddle again.

So, I am sure I will recall that day until I pass from this world, but I can tell you I don’t dwell on the failure.  I mean really,  we all fail at things.  Here are two things that I do think about when I think about 80 long.

If I didn’t try at all, I wouldn’t even have this lousy sad story,  although the touchdown story would have been better.  (And hey, is it not better to learn early that you really aren’t good at something?)  The lesson there – Always Try.

and secondly, failure doesn’t define you – dwelling in failure does.  That missed touchdown has no bearing on the person I am today.  I have a memory, but really, I moved on, and have had tons of success.  The lesson there- failures is a part of the process.

So, what am I trying to say today?  We all have our 80 long, but , just like Paul,  we need to leave them behind and keep straining toward what really matters.

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  Philippians 3:13  New International Version (NIV)

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