December 9, 2013
This past week I watched a video of a woman walking. I know this may sound boring and many of you reading this are probably thinking, "OK...I do that everyday. So what?" The beauty of this video is that the woman had been wheelchair bound for 5 years. She was completely paralyzed for several months in 2009. Now, 2 months post stem cell transplant she is up and walking with assistant. What a miracle for her and her family!
For me, I am nearing 5 months post transplant and I am happy to report that I am no longer using a cane. I am up walking on my own, climbing stairs, and driving. This past weekend I put all three of my new skills to the test by attending a high school football state championship game.
This was not an ordinary high school football game. This was a game in which a nearby school's football team was playing. It was a school that I had coached against, and lost to many times. I had been a distant observer of this group of young men since many of them were in 7th grade. With all the excitement surrounding our communities Ann, Taylor, and I loaded up the van and made the 2 hour journey north to the site of the game. Tori decided that she is not enough of a football fan to sit out in the freezing cold. So she opted for the warm comforts of Grandma's house.
When we finally arrived at the game all the skills I had alluded to earlier were quickly put to the test. I would drive our vehicle from the hotel to the stadium. After we parked we would trek what seemed like 42 and a half miles. Then once we entered the stadium there was the daunting task of traversing the bleachers to find our seats. I accomplished these feats with only minor issues. Mainly the fact that I am out of shape and carrying about 90 pounds more than I was 2 years ago.
Sitting in the stands and feeling the energy of the crowd I could not help but think how fitting this moment was. There I was watching a high school team from our area playing in a championship game and I began to reflect on how special this moment was. Not to steal any thunder from the young men on the field, but I began to feel like both our journeys paralleled one another.
Here we have some of the poorest school districts in the state of Ohio. It is understandable if we are unable to have success because we are at such a disadvantage. It is OK to feel sorry for yourself and people will understand the excuses. (I AM BEING SARCASTIC, or am I?). The young men of the Trimble Tomcats rose above the norm. They wanted more. They embodied a hard nose blue-collared mentality that is often hard to find in adults let alone teenagers. Football is a metaphor for life and these young men taught many of us adults a valuable lesson.
All the meanwhile, it kind of hit me. These young men already understand what took me about 30 years to figure out. We are not a product of our situation. We do not need to settle for less. We can rise above. We can succeed. However, we cannot do it alone. We need a team. We need support. We need to surround ourselves with people who will pick us up when we fall.
The game did not go the way many of us wanted. Isn't that true for life? As I watched the team jump up onto the podium and hoist the runners-up trophy toward the sky a few players wiped the tears from their face. I do not believe these were tears of sadness, but tears of happiness. Tears that come when you have given your all. Tears that come when you know you have achieved greatness.
Miracles do happen if you pay attention. I have been reminded of that again this week. I cannot explain how I am walking without a cane, climbing stairs, and driving. How can it be that a woman is up and walking after spending nearly 5 chairs wheelchair bound? Finally, how can a group of teenagers playing a game teach so many of us the importance of teamwork?
"You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples." (Psalms 77:14, NIV).