This week marks the beginning of Fall and many of us catch a bug this time of year. I’m not talking about the common cold or the flu. I’m talking about “football fever” that infects millions of Americans about now. Now I know that this epidemic has reduced some with the recent controversy over political demonstrations during the National Anthem and the medical evidence regarding brain injuries (CTE) but football, pro and college alike is still viewed by more Americans than any other sport.

The whys and wherefores behind America’s infatuation with football are quite complex. For each fan, there are differing reasons why they are fanatical about their favorite football team. People who don’t love sports can never understand those who do, because the bond between fan and team is impossible to explain, yet too strong to ignore.

There is something about football that brings people together. Whether it be a group of friends or father and son, football allows people a common denominator. So many relationships in life are frayed and watching sports and pulling for the same team can, even if for only a few hours, heal those issues.

Legendary Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Football is like life, it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”
I have heard others say, “Football is a lot like the game of life. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.” 

Let me add to the conversation from the perspective of a pastor of a church. A good football team is like a good church. Like a good football a good church requires its members to work together as a team. A football team and a church family both have coaches and a variety of players, all with different gifts, talents and abilities being used to accomplish a common goal.

Like players on a football team we as church members study a playbook for instruction (Bible), we huddle to get direction (prayer), we develop our fundamentals (worship, fellowship, bible study, a willingness to serve and share our faith with others). After practicing these fundamentals, we exercise our gifts to advance the ball (the gospel) and to defend an advancing enemy (the devil) that is trying to intercept anything passed on to you by God and make you fumble.

Think about it, football is like life itself, so as we enter the fall season are you as a coach on God’s team (the church) ready to, like Coach Lombardi says, persevere, deny yourself, work hard, sacrifice and inspire others to follow you on to the field to make a difference for the glory of God?