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Friday Night Lights

It is Friday night. The score is home-14 and visitor-16. There are only fifteen seconds left in the last quarter of the game. The visiting team has the ball, and it is first and goal. The only thing you can hear is the conversation in the crowd and the plays being discussed on the field. Then the teams walk onto the field, ready to give it their all as the stadium falls silent with anticipation for the next play. The teams get into position. The quarterback calls out, “Down, set……hike!” The linemen crash into each other as he backs up a few steps, cocks his arm back, and throws the football across the field with all hope. The football flies across the night sky, straight to the opposing team’s running back, and it seems like we have lost all hope. But then, from the darkness of the night, our safety breaks through the visiting team’s left tackle, thrusts himself into the stadium-lit sky, and intercepts the ball. And he’s off. The crowd goes crazy and the visiting team stands in utter shock as he runs with pride down to the opposite side of the field. He seems unstoppable. He’s on the fifty, the forty, the thirty, the twenty! Then one of the opposing team’s tight ends starts to inch his way in closer to our guy. The crowd screams, “Go!” “You can make it!” “Don’t give up!” Now he’s on the ten, the five…….and touchdown! He made it! He won the game! The crowd is going wild! People are jumping from their seats and rushing onto the field to congratulate the team. But while everyone else is gathering on the sidelines to celebrate, our safety takes a step away from the crowd. He walks back to where he caught the ball and thinks about what he has just achieved. Then he turns around and takes in the essence of the crowd. He takes in the cheers and the thrilled faces, splattered with green and gold paint. Then he smiles and says to himself, “This, this is why I play football.”



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